In November 2017, the BBC selected Bowel & Cancer Research for their next Lifeline appeal. They wanted to create an emotive piece that highlighted the everyday struggle faced by those living with a bowel disease and the importance of investing in research to create a brighter future.
Every year in the UK, more than 41,000 people are told that they have bowel cancer. It is the 3rd most common cancer and only lung cancer takes more lives. More than 300,000 people live with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and thousands with chronic conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation and bowel incontinence.
Bowel conditions are common and they can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Bowel cancer takes lives every day and chronic conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease can isolate people from family and friends, making the most simple things in life such as a trip to the shops impossible.
We want to be able to better diagnose bowel disease and improve treatments so we fund the best science across the UK and support our next generation of research experts through a dedicated PhD studentship programme.
We want to shine a light on bowel cancer and disease and support those that live with them so we run campaigns to improve the public’s knowledge of bowel disease and highlight the key signs that should encourage people to visit their GPs.
Among other advances, our research has improved our understanding of our bowels and how they change as we age, paved the way for new treatments for the terrible pain that people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease experience and provided insights into how bowel cancer develops to help with early diagnosis.
We are very grateful to the BBC, Dr Ranj and our courageous contributors who have made this special appeal and talked so movingly and openly about their experiences.
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Paul was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer in 2008. He celebrates his 10th year free of the disease in 2018.
Andy is 31 and lives in Liverpool. In November 2016 he was diagnosed with Stage IV bowel cancer.
Tanya has lived with bowel problems for most of her life. Since the age of 12 she has had regular stays in hospital. Now 26 she has been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Dr Ranj previously worked with the charity on our national campaign I've Got Guts. We're very grateful to him for donating his time to present our Lifeline appeal.