Leading charity raises awareness of bowel cancer at Scottish Parliament in Edinubrgh

Edinburgh based charity, Bowel Cancer UK, will be raising awareness of the disease amongst MSPs and staff at the Scottish Parliament between Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 January 2007. The charity’s visit is at the invitation of the Scottish Parliament as part of preparations for the roll-out of bowel cancer screening in Scotland in March and Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

During the three days, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and staff will be able to visit Bowel Cancer UK’s display, which will be in the Garden Foyer. The display will provide information about the charity’s work and the disease; an opportunity to view a presentation about awareness, prevention and the screening programme; and a chance to meet representatives of the charity, including its new Scottish Bowel Cancer Prevention Advisor, Lesley Sinclair, whose post has been funded by the Scottish Lottery.

Bowel Cancer UK is the only national bowel cancer charity to have a dedicated office in Scotland. The Scottish office celebrates its second anniversary shortly: it was formally opened in April 2005.

Tim Searles, Head of Operations, Scotland for Bowel Cancer UK says: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to raise awareness of bowel cancer at the Scottish Parliament, particularly at such a crucial time, with the imminent introduction of screening in Scotland. The screening programme is one of the most positive developments in bowel cancer, as it encourages people to become more pro-active about the disease and identifies people with the disease earlier. 

“We hope that many MSPs will visit our display and go on to actively support our work, by helping us to engage with their constituents and brokering introductions to key people and organisations, including employers, so we can give presentations to their staff. With their help, we hope to reach many more people with our messages and deliver our long-term objective - to significantly reduce deaths from bowel cancer in Scotland, where approximately 3,500 cases are diagnosed each year.

Andy Kerr MSP, Minister for Health and Community Care, comments:

“In Scotland, more than half of the people with bowel cancer are now living for more than five years after diagnosis. This is great news, but there is still much more to be done.

 “That’s why I welcome the event co-ordinated by Bowel Cancer UK, which is taking place in the Scottish Parliament. It is important to help people recognise not only signs and symptoms but also to raise awareness of the benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle through, for example, eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, taking regular exercise and stopping smoking.

“We also know that if bowel cancer is identified early, treatment can be delivered quickly and survival rates will continue to improve. This year, we are rolling out a national screening programme for men and women aged 50-74. I would encourage everyone who receives a screening test kit to participate in the programme.”

With elections looming in Scotland, Bowel Cancer UK will continue to encourage the current excellent cross-party co-operation and commitment to screening to be carried through to the next parliament in May, with the sustained financial support needed to implement the programme in full and in a timely fashion.

The charity will also seek to ensure that the current Cancer Plan For Scotland is reviewed, republished and fully endorsed by the Scottish Parliament, so that the disease does not slip down the health agenda.

Every year over 35,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer - that's someone every 15 minutes. Scotland has the highest rate of bowel cancer per head of population in the UK and one of the highest in Europe. It is the third most common cancer in Scotland for both men and women: approximately 3,500 cases are diagnosed each year. 

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For more information about bowel cancer visit www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk or call the Bowel Cancer Advisory Service on 08708 50 60 50.

For media enquiries, please contact Ian Beaumont, Louise Ellis or Imogen Cawrse in the Bowel Cancer UK Press Office on 020 7381 9711.

Notes for Editors

Bowel Cancer UK

Bowel Cancer UK is a leading charity dedicated to raising awareness of bowel cancer, improving the quality of life of those affected by the disease and, ultimately, reducing deaths from the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK affecting both men and women equally.

  • The UK has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, but it remains a taboo subject, even though it is highly treatable if caught early.
  • Every year in the UK alone, 35,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer. 16, 000 of these will die from the disease.
  • For further information on bowel cancer call the Bowel Cancer Advisory Service on 08708 50 60 50 between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

Imogen Cawrse
Assistant Press and PR Officer
Bowel Cancer UK

Tel.: 020 7381 9711
Direct line: 020 7386 4016
Address: 7 Rickett Street, London SW6 1RU
Website: www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
We are a voluntary organisation relying on donations to fund our work. Please visit the website for further information

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