We fund cutting edge scientific and surgical research into bowel cancer and other bowel problems
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Bowel & Cancer Research

Bowel & Cancer Research is a charity that funds ground-breaking research into bowel cancer and other bowel diseases.

The central vision of the charity is that no-one should die of bowel cancer, have to live with chronic bowel disease or face life with a permanent stoma.

With this in mind, we also raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer and other diseases, challenging taboos, and encourage and support people to get more involved in research. Through these activities we aim to Save and Change lives.

Bowel & Cancer Research: The Future

Our commitment to research into bowel cancer and related diseases has driven us, along with our partners at Barts & the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, to fund and deliver the UK’s first National Centre for Bowel Disease and Surgical Innovation (NCBRSI). It became operational at the end of March 2012. The centre features a unique and cutting edge human tissue laboratory and will bring together a wide range of the most current research disciplines in one facility.

Saving Lives and Changing Lives

Linking with the NCBRSI, we pursue our aim to Save and Change Lives through research by funding two programmes

  1. Saving Lives: improving survival rates for bowel cancer sufferers through pioneering research into the spread and behaviour of cancer in humans.
  2. Changing Lives: investigating the causes, effects and treatment of bowel diseases other than cancer, specifically chronic diseases, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and chronic symptoms, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and, through pioneering innovations in surgery and device development, improve the quality of life of patients. In particular we aim to eliminate the need for patients to rely upon a stoma.


We give small “pump priming” grants for 12-18 months enabling researchers to investigate their ideas and gather the data for major grant applications and also commit to funding a national research fellowship, open to researchers around the UK for a piece of work which fits with the main themes of the NCBRSI.

Learn your BCA

We can save lives if everyone who has the symptoms of bowel cancer goes to the GP to get checked out. Our campaign “Learn your BCA” focuses on the 3 major signs, Bleeding from the bottom, Change in bowel habits, Abdominal pain. We know that it’s not pleasant often to talk openly about such things but catching bowel cancer early can make the difference between life and death and no one should ignore these signs.

What a Bummer

We take our research funding very seriously, but because people are often reluctant to think or talk about bowel function, our ‘What a Bummer’ campaign aims to bring out the fun side of bottoms.  Most people know at least one “bum joke”, so please visit the What a Bummer website where you can not only read others but also submit your own bottom related jokes. Together we can “kick bowel cancer up the arse”!


shutterstock_180366671Scientists at Queen Mary University of London, led by Professor Jack Cuzick examined 200 studies and compared the benefits with the harm of taking aspirin, which is still an area of debate in the medical community.

They found that the drug was most effective against cancers of the digestive system; oesophagus, stomach and bowel, where it had the effect of reducing deaths by 30% to 40%.

The study found that people need to take the drug for at least 5 years to see any benefit. Professor Cuzick recommended that all healthy people over the age of 50 consider taking a low dose (75mg) daily. However, this should be after seeking medical advice.

After examining the evidence, the researchers predict that for every 1,000 people over the age of 60 who take aspirin for 10 years in the following decade there would be:

  • 16 fewer deaths from bowel cancer
  • One fewer death from heart attack
  • Two additional deaths from bleeding

The study suggested that 122,000 lives could be saved in the UK if everyone between the ages of 50-64 took the drug, but that this needs to be balanced against 18,000 deaths from side-effects.

To mitigate the drug’s effect on bleeding, and because we become more prone to this as we age, the study recommends that a 10 year cut off point for taking the low dose drug is observed.

Jack Cruzick has been taking aspirin himself for 4 years and said: “Whilst there are some serious side-effects that can’t be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement.”

The study has been published in the Annals of Oncology.

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