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The bowel cancer screening lottery must end

It’s the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, yet when we catch bowel cancer early nearly everyone survives.

The best way to diagnose bowel cancer at an early stage is through screening. It’s almost 15 years since both the Council of the European Union and the United Kingdom Department of Health declared 50 to be the optimum age for bowel cancer screening to commence, yet in the UK, only Scotland complies: in England, Wales and Northern Ireland routine screening is only available to those aged 60 and over.

This means almost 8 million people in their 50s are denied the same opportunity of an early bowel cancer diagnosis through the national screening programme as their Scottish counterparts.

Around 41,000 people a year are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 1 in 10 of these are in their 50s.

Beating Bowel Cancer’s campaign for the screening age to be standardised at 50 has attracted over 8,000 supporters to lobby their MP so far – but now there’s a new opportunity to put this at the top of the political agenda and we need your help.

A new Early Day Motion 617 (EDM 617) calls on the Government to acknowledge that 50 is the internationally-recognised optimal age at which bowel cancer screening should begin.

Please take just a few minutes to petition your MP to support the Early Day Motion. All you have to do is fill out a few details and the site will do the rest for you.

We must avoid more needless deaths – like Lauren Backler's mum Fiona who died aged 56.

"If we lived in Scotland, mum would have already been screened before she was finally diagnosed, creating the opportunity for her cancer to be detected earlier and improving her chances of survival," says Lauren.

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Screening at 50 can happen. It must happen. Save lives. Let’s put bowel cancer screening at the top of the political agenda.