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Bowel Cancer campaign: Brian's story

Brian Downes

A campaign is being launched in Salford to urge people to get screened for bowel cancer. It's the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, anyone aged between 60 and 74 can get checked for free

Brian’s Story:

Brian Downes a retired computer engineer and a Salford resident for over 30 years, received and completed a bowel cancer screening kit towards the end of 2008 when he was 66 years old.

‘It is easy to do and it saves lives’. Father of three and Grandfather of five, Brian, can testify. Blood was found in his sample, and he was referred onto Royal Bolton hospital, where they arranged for him to have further tests. Brian was shocked to receive a diagnosis of bowel cancer.

‘I had no symptoms, no pain and was completely unaware of the cancer before taking the screening test.

‘My surgeon told me that if I had not taken the screening test, by the time the symptoms had become recognisable, I would have been rushed in as an emergency and they would have had to operate immediately’

‘By it being picked up through the screening process it meant they could do all the required scans and they were therefore much better prepared for my operation.’

When Brian was operated on at Salford Royal, they found that the cancer had also spread to his liver. After an operation for this at North Manchester General Hospital, he also received chemotherapy at Christies.

Regular surveillance meant that a tumour was found in his liver in 2011, and in 2014 a further tumour was found, which he will begin a course of chemotherapy on shortly.

His message to people who are unsure about taking part in bowel screening is

‘Just do it. Despite what I have been through, I am glad I took part. For most people, it would give them peace of mind. And for those who do need treatment, like myself, early intervention is much better’.

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Tumour imaging 'will save lives'

Imaging machine to look at tumours in greater detail Credit: University of Manchester

Millions of pounds are to be spent in Manchester developing new ways of tackling cancer. The funding will be used to improve imaging techniques helping doctors learn more about how tumours feed and grow.

Cancer Research UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research are together committing £35 million for five years to four separate cancer imaging centres across the country, including a joint centre between The University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge.

The imaging centre at The University of Manchester is part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, a partnership between the university, Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Images which will help diagnosis and treatment Credit: University of Manchester

Professor Ian Jacobs, Vice-President of The University of Manchester said: "This is an exciting development which will provide added value to our efforts in cancer research by investing in and linking the expertise and research resources in cancer imaging in Manchester and Cambridge.

"We can anticipate that it will, in due course, result in advances in cancer knowledge and cancer care that will save lives and benefit people in the North West, across the UK and worldwide."

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