As the second leading cause of cancer deaths, I am encouraged that tackling bowel cancer is a key priority of the NHS.
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - led by patient groups like Bowel Cancer UK - provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of this terrible disease and the need for earlier, faster diagnosis. I fully sympathise with the many patients who have been waiting longer during the COVID-19 pandemic for those crucial tests that can help diagnose bowel cancer.
Please be assured that the Government is working to tackle this backlog by investing £150 million to expand diagnostic capacity, delivered through new community diagnostic centres, new imaging and endoscopy equipment and by increasing accreditation sessions for endoscopists.
The Government has also recently concluded its public consultation to inform the development of a new 10-Year Cancer Plan and will respond to the feedback this Summer. Increasing the speed of cancer diagnosis will be central to this Plan, with a commitment to extend bowel screening to people aged 50 to 60 by 2024 to 2025.
I also welcome Bowel Cancer UK’s drop-in event on Wednesday 27 April and look forward to attending the event and understanding more about current issues faced by bowel cancer patients.