I have chosen to do my second year's walk in memory of Marty in London, along the River Thames - a place we visited often together. One of my most memorable trips was when I took Marty's to see one of the biggest exhibitions ever of the original props and costumes from the Star Wars films and taking him on the London Eye; which he also enjoyed the experience, even though he never left his seat because he had a fear of heights!
Earlier this year, myself and half a million people supported Lauren Backler by signing a petition to the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt MP calling for a change in the bowel cancer screening age in England.
Well, we did it!
Following a comprehensive review of the evidence, the committee recommends that screening should be offered from aged 50 to 74 using the new and more accurate screening test, the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) at a sensitivity level of 20ug/g. FIT at this level has the potential to detect twice as many cancers and four times as many adenomas.
The sensitivity of FIT to detect blood in poo can be adjusted to be more or less accurate. Adjusting the sensitivity threshold determines the number of people who will be referred for colonoscopy. The lower the threshold, the more sensitive the test is to blood. However, this also means more people who have traces of blood in their poo but who don’t have bowel cancer will be referred for a colonoscopy.
FIT will be rolled out to the current eligible population from this autumn in England before the screening age is lowered. The test is already being used in Scotland from age 50. Wales has committed to roll-out FIT from January 2019 and Northern Ireland has yet to make a public commitment.
Bowel Cancer UK's CEO; Deborah Alsina has highlighted that this of course doesn't help people under 50 but the charities 'Never2Young' campaign aims to address this. I am keeping a close watch on any developments with this campaign and will update here with any developments whilst continuing to raise the awareness of bowel cancer in young people.
Blog - Never too Young
This blog is to carry on Marty's fighting spirit and help raise awareness of bowel cancer to others. It is also a place for you to share any of the things you have done or are doing in memory of him.