LETTER: Bowel Cancer - call for screening age to be lowered

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My mum Fiona died of bowel cancer. She was just 56 at the time.

If she had lived in Scotland, where people are screened from the age of 50, she’d have had a better chance of survival.

It breaks my heart to know I lost my mum to this disease, when she might well have survived if they had caught it early enough.

If diagnosed at an early stage, 97 per cent of cases of bowel cancer can be successfully treated, but this drops to just 7 per cent if diagnosed at a late stage.

You’re far more likely to be diagnosed at an early stage through screening than you are via your GP or accident and emergency.

So it’s shocking that there are millions of people in their 50s in the UK who are still being denied this chance.

About 41,000 people a year are diagnosed with bowel cancer – the UK’s second biggest cancer killer – and more than one-in-10 of them are in their 50s.

Currently, the screening age starts at 50 in Scotland, but not until 60 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This means there are almost eight million people in their 50s in the UK currently being denied the opportunity to be screened.

Like my mum they are being badly let down and they deserve better.

That’s why I’ve been campaigning for a change to be made and why I’m supporting the charity Beating Bowel Cancer’s call to equalise the screening age across the UK.

I’d like to ask all the local 50-year-olds, their families and friends – and all those who will one day be in that age group – to support this change to bowel cancer screening to ensure the odds are on their side in the future.

You can get more information about how to support Beating Bowel Cancer’s campaign at www.beatingbowelcancer.org

Lauren Backler

By email