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Raising awareness of bowel cancer

26 July 2018

Person clutching stomach

TV and radio presenter Garry Owen, colorectal surgeon Mr Gethin Williams and Assembly Member Steffan Lewis will shine a spotlight on bowel cancer in Wales, at an event hosted by Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer and Cardiff University, at the National Eisteddfod of Wales on Tuesday 7 August.

If you’ve been affected by bowel cancer or are hoping to learn more about the disease join the free Q&A from 2:30pm – 4pm.

Gary and Gethin will cover bowel cancer symptoms, the importance of screening and treatment advances in Wales; whilst Steffan will share his personal experience of being diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

There’s also an opportunity for the audience to ask their own questions.

Garry, whose wife was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014, says: "This will be an opportunity to learn more about bowel cancer. Many of the questions that I'll be asking could well come from personal experience following my wife's diagnosis. Thankfully, after treatment and excellent care, she is now fit and well."

Steffan, Assembly Member for South East Wales, was diagnosed at the end of 2017 and talks openly about his experience: “I’ll never forget the day I was diagnosed and my whole world collapsed but I’ll also always be grateful to those people in the NHS who have provided me with such care and support. The entire bowel cancer journey is daunting, scary and unpredictable; from colorectal surgery through to chemotherapy and its side-effects. But we must learn to talk more about it as a society so we can eventually defeat this dreadful disease.”

Gethin Williams, who is a consultant colorectal surgeon at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and lecturer in surgery at Cardiff University, said: “The treatment of bowel cancer has improved dramatically since the start of the NHS. It is a treatable and curable disease if caught early.  Surgery plays a vital role in curing and treating bowel cancer and surgical improvements are being made all the time. Today, patients undergoing key hole surgery will have vastly improved outcomes from their surgery.”

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Wales.

More than 2,200 people are diagnosed each year and over 900 people die of the disease.  

Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer.

Cardiff University has invested important research into advances in bowel cancer treatment, including maximising effectiveness of colonoscopies and progressive immunotherapies for advanced disease.

Earlier in the year, Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer launched a new report in Wales that highlighted just over half of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer survive for five years or more (58%), five out of the seven health boards breach waiting times for tests that can diagnose bowel cancer and an alarmingly low number of eligible people take part in the bowel screening programme.

Members of the public can attend the event, which will take place at the Cardiff University Tent (No. 33) at 14:30 on Tuesday 7 August.

It will be conducted in Welsh, with translation facilities available, and there will be refreshments.

The National Eisteddfod of Wales will be held in Cardiff for the first time in a decade from Friday 3 – Saturday 11 August.