World Cancer Day is a global event that has become an important date in the calendar, when individuals across the world unite to try and achieve a common goal - 'to reduce the global burden of cancer'. 

The campaign this year comes with several important core messages:

  • Create healthy schools & workplaces
  • Support others to return to work
  • Improve access to cancer care
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices

Another important message is to 'promote early detection' and it is this theme that we want to highlight this year.

World Cancer Day

One of our supporters, and a key advocate for building awareness around early detection, is Andy Godden. At the age of 31, Andy was diagnosed with stage IV bowel cancer. He had stomach pains for 9 months but had put off consulting his GP.

I wrote off the pains and made excuses that I was always too busy to go to the doctor.

Andy is not alone. Too many of us put off going to the GP, because we don't want to bother them or we feel slightly embarrassed to talk about our bowels or our symptoms.

EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES - 90% of people will survive stage I bowel cancer, 6% survive stage IV.

Research leads the fight

We believe that through investing in research, we will one day have the science available to create a world free from cancer, or be in a position to control it.

We're incredibly proud of researchers who are leading the battle against bowel cancer, people like Hannah in Nottingham who is investigating the behaviour of cancer that develops in areas within the body that are low in oxygen. Most recently we have funded a study at Bristol University looking at the role that gene BCL-3 plays in preventing the death of cancer cells when treated with chemotherapy, helping to understand chemotherapy resistance.

Read about all of our bowel cancer research projects

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

We call it learning your BCA, according to the main symptoms below. Having these symptoms DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE BOWEL CANCER, but knowing these symptoms, and acting on them, could save your life.

B is for Bleeding from the bottom. Always check after using the toilet.
C is for a Change in your normal bowel habits that lasts for more than 3 weeks
A is for Abdominal pain, acute tiredness and/or a lump in your tummy

What should I do if I experience these symptoms?

If you experience any of these symptoms for 3 weeks or more contact your GP. Because the symptoms are quite broad and could mean other things, our advice is that, if you really feel that something is wrong - don't give up, insist upon a referral to a specialist.

The NHS now offers bowel cancer screening to people aged 60-74. If and when you are sent one of their self-test kits, do it. Screening can detect the early signs of cancers before symptoms present and, as Andy's story highlights, early diagnosis is critial.

When caught early surgery is highly effective and more than 90% of people will survive, but when caught at the very latest stage this falls to 6%.

Read more about symptoms, treatment and lifestyle changes to reduce risk