Bowel & Cancer Research works in partnership with trusts and foundations to deliver funding into the best science. As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities, Bowel & Cancer Research brings an assurance of fair and robust decision making and high quality science.

With your support, we can enable researchers to create a better future

In wider society there remains a reluctance to be open about bowel problems which contributes to maintaining bowel cancer at the top of the “biggest killers” list and this reluctance to be open extends across all bowel problems.  This helps to explain why investment in research across all bowel disease has not matched the impact that bowel disease has on hundreds of thousands of people in the UK alone living with IBS, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s disease, faecal incontinence, chronic constipation and other bowel conditions which have a huge impact on day to day life.

Bowel & Cancer Research works on behalf of the 41,000 plus people who are diagnosed each year with bowel cancer, the 250,000 plus who live with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Colitis and Crohn’s disease) and the many thousands more who have unexplained and distressing bowel symptoms (for example IBS). Although bowel problems affect so many people, the area of bowel research has to this point been very poorly funded, compared with the toll these diseases take on people. Bowel cancer is the 3rd most prevalent cancer and the 2nd biggest cancer killer, while diseases such as Colitis and Crohn’s disease often strike in childhood and will persist throughout the lifetime of the sufferer without hope of a cure.

When you’re healthy, you never give a second thought to going to toilet or holding yourself until a “convenient” time. Why would anyone try to imagine what life would be like if you have no warning that you’ll lose control of your bowels (in the middle of a shop, at your child’s school play, at your desk at work), or at the other extreme, not opening your bowels for weeks because your bowel just doesn’t work?

Despite this serious and distressing impact of bowel disease, these debilitating conditions continue to receive only about half the research funding that their impact merits. As a result life-long diseases such as Colitis and Crohn’s are still very poorly understood, the best that a patient can expect is the management of their symptoms – any cure is a very long way off.

Help us create a brighter future by investing in research

This is why our mission to change lives and save lives by supporting the best research is critical.  We are growing our research programme and are currently funding high quality research up and down the country to the value of some £1.2million.

In the past 5 years, our projects have delivered a number of genuine “firsts”. These include pinpointing how pain is registered for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, identifying changes in polyps, which could revolutionise bowel cancer screening and identifying changes in the structure of the bowel as we age, which will help to target better therapies for constipation which blights lives from the very youngest to the very oldest.

Our work extends beyond research, we work to create awareness of bowel diseases and change attitudes

In addition to research projects, another very important part of our work is to run awareness programmes, encouraging people to take symptoms seriously, reduce their personal cancer risk and challenge taboos about bowel disease and conditions which people find it hard to talk about, for example faecal incontinence. This awareness work creates an important dialogue with the general public and those who have a bowel condition. 

The pain of IBD is so intense that only constant doses of morphine will help it subside, and even then the relief is heartbreakingly brief. It is so crippling that it can cause you to lose consciousness and vomit; like someone is cutting you open from the inside.

Barry Edmonson

One of our four overarching organisational strategic objectives is to act as a bridge between science/research and the public. We run a growing Patient and Public Involvement Programme (PPI) which involves members of the public in the process of medical research, from the “idea” stage, through ethics to helping to write patient information and even to recruiting lay members for clinical trial steering groups. 

Our PPI programme has shaped how we conduct our research, placing the onus on the patient

Trust funding has been critical to the development of Bowel & Cancer Research and our model of funding “proof of principle” work has leveraged millions of pounds of additional funding from mainstream investors into the sector, supporting both institutions and young talent. Trusts can provide restricted funding for a specific project, disease area or type of programme, or give unrestricted support that will benefit all areas of research. In the case of restricted grants, Bowel & Cancer Research will monitor the progress of the piece of work and report to the requirements of the individual trust supporter.

For more information contact Birgitta Clift.