Bowel cancer survivor from Tipton St John backs campaign to lower screening age

Mary Bray from Tipton St John is supporting the Beat Bowel Cancer charity's campaign to lower the sc

Mary Bray from Tipton St John is supporting the Beat Bowel Cancer charity's campaign to lower the screening test age. - Credit: Archant

Mary Bray is supporting the campaign to lower the national screening age in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 60 to 50, to allow for more early diagnosis.

A bowel cancer survivor from Tipton St John is backing a national campaign to lower the screening age from 60 to 50 so early diagnosis can save lives.

Mary Bray, 68, is supporting Beating Bowel Cancer’s call to bring England, Wales and Northern Ireland in line with Scotland.

Mary was diagnosed in 2008 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy.

In 2010, she had a recurrence in her liver, which was removed by more surgery.


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“I was under 60 when I was eventually diagnosed,” said Mary. “Had I been screened from the age of 50, my diagnosis would probably have been earlier, possibly before I had metastases [a secondary malignant growth] to my liver.

“I have seen so many people well under 60 with the disease. Reducing the screening age would send a positive message to GPs, many of whom still seem to think the onset of this disease doesn’t happen until after 60 years of age.

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“We all need to get behind Beating Bowel Cancer’s campaign to make sure people in their 50s throughout the UK are screened for this awful disease.

“I’d urge all the 50-year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, their family and friends – and those who will one day be in that age group – to support this change to bowel cancer screening to ensure that the odds are on their side in the future.”

The charity says that if the age was lowered, more than 4,000 patients in their 50s would have the chance to be diagnosed early – with treatment for stage one bowel cancer offering a 97 per cent survival rate.

Without screening, patients may not be diagnosed until a later stage by a GP or in accident and emergency, causing the cancer to become more difficult to treat – with odds of survival reducing to as low as seven per cent.

Judith Brodie, director of services at Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer and it’s time we changed the odds for patients in their 50s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“It’s shocking that they are not being given the same chance of survival as those in Scotland, where they are already screened from the age of 50. They are being badly let down and they deserve better.

“With the increase in the ageing population, more and more patients are going to be affected unless something changes now. There is no excuse for allowing this inequality to carry on.”

To support the campaign, visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org

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