1. ITV Report

Terminally ill woman supports awareness campaign

Gail Allen Photo: ITV Anglia

A Bedfordshire woman who has terminal bowel cancer is supporting a new awareness campaign.

Gail Allen from Arlesey is backing the Bowel Cancer UK charity, which wants GPs to have more flexibility to send people for tests, particularly colonoscopys.

Gail, 54, went to her GP repeatedly with abdominal pain, but didn't have a colonoscopy for over a year. Her cancer spread to her liver and lungs and she will never know if an earlier diagnosis could have saved her life.

We've got to do more to stop people dying of this curable disease. It is one of the cancers we can cure really easily, and yet we are dying of it. It shouldn't be happening.

– Gail Allen

Bowel Cancer UK wants more people to be sent for colonoscopys, which are the most accurate way of identifying bowel cancer.

Currently there is a problem of delayed diagnosis in the UK for bowel cancer and that's because around 50% of people diagnosed actually don't present to their GPs with the standard high risk symptoms, and so what we are calling for is a liberalisation of guidance so that more people can be referred through much more quickly for diagnostic tests so that bowel cancer can be ruled out first rather than last.

– Deborah Alsina, Bowel Cancer UK

Information about bowel cancer

  • Bowel Cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK
  • It kills more than 16,000 people every year
  • 9 out of 10 people will survive if it's diagnosed early, but the survival rate drops significantly with later diagnosis.

For more information, visit the Bowel Cancer UK website.