Beating Bowel Cancer Parliamentary Visit
10th February 2015

Daniel Cheetham was invited to a Parliamentary reception by Beating Bowel Cancer

Owing to running 156 muddy miles over nearly 300 obstacles in 13 Tough Mudder events in the UK and Ireland last year, in order to raise over £2,500 for the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, I was invited to join a selection of other fundraisers in a Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons. The event was to be hosted by John Baron MP.

 

Improving bowel cancer outcomes is everyone’s responsibility and at Beating Bowel Cancer, they are determined to play their part in ensuring a sustained focus on improving outcomes for patients with the disease. The annual event serves as an opportunity for politicians to meet charity representatives, patients and clinicians and find out about the issues of concern relevant to bowel cancer patients. As well as MPs and Peers from all the main political parties, the event was attended by bowel cancer patients, supporters of the charity, healthcare professionals and key opinion leaders.

 

A startling figure was discussed that of 1 in 5 diagnoses of colorectal cancer occur at Accident and Emergency, which puts Britain as having one of the worst records in Europe for both identification and survival from it. In light of this, Mark Flannagan (CEO of Beating Bowel Cancer) used the forum to announce the launch of a Five Year Forward View for bowel cancer to help drive improvements in treatment and care. Core to this approach is the aim to save 800 lives from the disease each year; that’s a total of 4,000 lives over the next five years. What is crucial to achieving this target is early detection. John Baron MP voiced how we need to rid ourselves of our ‘stiff upper lip’ and stop being afraid to talk about our bottoms and bowels.

 

This comes on the back of an announcement by NHS England of a new independent taskforce to develop a five-year action plan for cancer services that will improve survival rates and save thousands of lives. Although the situation has improved in recent years, Britain still has one of the worst records in Europe for both identification of cancer and survival from it.

 

We also heard from Simon Hawkins, a bowel cancer survivor. As part of his treatment, Simon was given access to a Avastin. A ground breaking drug from the Pharmaceutical company Roche that isn’t offered by the NHS. This was made possible by the Cancer Drugs Fund. The Cancer Drugs fund was setup to ensure cancer patients in England were able to access new, innovative treatments that weren't currently available on the NHS. Sadly NHS England recently announced that it will remove 25 treatments from the Cancer Drugs Fund, with effect from March 2015, meaning nearly 8,000 cancer patients a year will be denied life-extending drugs condemning them to an early death and denying the opportunity to improve their quality of life. Simon therefore announced his intentions to create a petition to halt the changes to the Cancer Drugs Fund to give back the lost treatments to cancer patients in the UK. Click here to view this petition.

 

The event for me served as an opportunity to meet cancer survivors and other fundraisers to rally our efforts in raising further awareness and funds. Having lost someone close to me to the disease, it proved emotional at points discussing my reasons for involving myself in the charity, but I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to meet so many individuals showing a true passion to helping others.

 

Daniel Cheetham

Biometrics Team - RBW Consulting

 

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