Prime Minister Theresa May Quizzed At Pmqs Over Sun Campaign To Lower Bowel Cancer Screening Age From 60 To 50


AN MP today urged the Prime Minister to lower the bowel cancer screening age from 60 to 50.

Tory Julian Sturdy quizzed Theresa May at PMQs asking for assurance that the Government will listen to The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign.

Prime Minister Theresa May said today that early diagnosis is vital in beating bowel cancer

It is calling for the screening tests to be offered from a person’s 50th birthday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as it is in Scotland – a move that could save more than 4,500 lives every year.

The MP for York Outer told the Commons: “Bowel cancer claims the lives of over 44 people every day and has a devastating impact on families up and down the country.

“But it can be beaten, if caught at the earliest stage thanks to better diagnosis.

“Can the Prime Minister assure me that the Government will listen to proposals to lower the screening from 60 to 50?”

AFP or licensors During PMQs MP Julian Sturdy asked the PM for assurances that the Government will listen to campaigners calling for bowel cancer screening to start at 50 not 60

The Prime Minister said early diagnosis is key in the fight against cancer. And experts say screening is one of the key ways to ensure early diagnosis.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second deadliest cancer, claiming 16,000 lives a year – but caught early it can be cured.

Catch bowel cancer at stage 1 – in its earliest stages – and a patient has a 97 per cent chance of living for five years or longer.

But detect it at stage 4 – when it’s already spread – and that chance plummets to just seven per cent.

Lauren Backler Lauren Backler started a petition calling for the screening age to be lowered to 50, after her mum Fiona died of bowel cancer at 55

Jon Bond – The Sun Lauren said she believes her mum would still be alive today if she lived in Scotland, where screening already starts at 50

Jon Bond – The Sun Last month Lauren delivered her petition to the Department of Health complete with a staggering 446,921 signatures

Theresa May told MPs cancer survival rates here are among the highest.

“Latest figures show that an estimated 7,000 more people are surviving cancer after successful NHS cancer treatment compared to three years ago,” she told Parliament.

“But there is still more to be done, and my honourable friend absolutely right that early diagnosis is an important element of that.

“What we are doing is looking at how the development of smart technologies which allow us to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than the intervention of human beings can be used to ensure that we get that earlier diagnosis.

“And we want to see by 2033 at least 50,000 more people each year being diagnosed at an early stage of prostate, ovarian, lung or bowel cancer.”

It comes after health minister MP Steve Brine told MPs experts have been asked to consider the evidence around lowering the screening age for bowel cancer.

During a debate secured by MP Nick Thomas-Symonds, who lost his mother to bowel cancer, Mr Brine said: “I am pleased to say that as part of their deliberations, the UK National Screening Committee will consider the appropriate age at which FIT screen testing would start.”

Lizzie Dowd Lizzie Dowd has also backed The Suns campaign after losing her mum Christine to the disease at the age of 53

And he announced that the new FIT test for bowel cancer, which has been shown to be more affected than current stool tests, is due to be rolled out in England in the autumn.

Currently in England, Wales and Northern Ireland people are invited to take part in the national screening programme from their 60th birthday.

But across the border in Scotland screening starts a decade earlier.

After losing her mum Fiona to bowel cancer at the age of 55, Lauren Backler, who’s joined forces with The Sun to launch the No Time 2 Lose campaign, started a petition lobbying the Department of Health to end the postcode lottery.

Under Secretary of State for Health Steve Brine praises the launching of The S un ‘s No Time 2 Lose bowel cancer campaign in Parliament

Last month the 27-year-old delivered her petition to the Department of Health – complete with a staggering 446,921 signatures.

Within days of The Sun’s campaign launch it received a 20,000 boost, and currently has the support of 474,173 signatures.

Lauren told The Sun: “It’s not right that where you live can mean the difference between life and death.

“But it did for my mum.

“If screening happened at 50 in England, mum would’ve had not one screening test but two, that’s two chances to pick up her cancer.

“Even if they had found it a year earlier, she would have had a fighting chance.

“But as it was, she had no chance.”


Our No Time 2 Lose campaign is calling for:

the Government to lower the screening age from 60 to 50 – as it is in Scotland every Brit to know the five red-flag signs of bowel cancer

And we want you to dig deep and help raise money for Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer – who work tirelessly to beat this disease. Donate here.

Lizzie Dowd, like Lauren, also lost her mum to the disease at the age of 53.

While watching her mum Christine go through treatment, Lizzie, who was 28 at the time, was also diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Lizzie’s disease was caught at stage 1 – and after an op to remove the tumour, she has recovered well.

But Christine, who was diagnosed at stage 4, wasn’t so lucky, and she passed away two years after being diagnosed.

Their story highlights just how important early diagnosis is, saving lives.

Rex Features Former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has backed the No Time 2 Lose campaign after being diagnosed with bowel cancer

Alamy Currently those aged 60 to 74 are offered bowel cancer screening tests, but The Sun is calling for it to be lowered to 50

Backing the No Time 2 Lose campaign, Lizzie told The Sun: “I feel very strongly that the screening age should be lowered from 60 to 50.

“It’s hard to accept that mum might have died because of where she lived.

“If we’d lived in Scotland she would have been screened at 50 and perhaps her cancer would have been picked up earlier.

“Perhaps she might still be here today.

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