Catalyst’s Keith Chilvers calls for better results on early diagnosis of bowel cancer

Keith ChilversCatalyst’s Keith Chilvers, a bowel cancer patient, is calling for patients to be diagnosed as early as possible. This comes as new figures are released today by the charity Beating Bowel Cancer showing the majority of bowel cancer patients are still diagnosed too late.

There is a huge variation within the NHS across England in terms of early diagnosis of bowel cancer. The best performing Clinical Commissioning Groups diagnose 63% of patients early, compared with only 30% in the worst. Figures show that if every NHS region in England performed as well as the best at diagnosing bowel cancer early, 3,200 lives could be saved and £34 million could be diverted to other bowel cancer services and treatments.

Keith, Centre Manager at the Unity Centre, first went to his GP in February 2012 after suffering stomach pain and noticing blood when going to the toilet. After a number of visits, his GP referred him for a colonoscopy and Keith was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer.

Keith has since had an operation to remove the tumour. The cancer had spread to his liver and lungs but he has responded very well to chemotherapy and had a liver section in April 2013. A recent scan showed no cancer in his liver and a 50% reduction in his lungs.

“This disease is so treatable when it is caught early,” Keith says, “But the figures released today show that people are still being diagnosed too late. During Bowel Cancer Month I want to share my experience as much as possible to get the message out there.”

Keith, a motor racing enthusiast, works as a radio presenter for the community station he set up. He says: “Once I was diagnosed I didn’t know quite where to turn, but a friend recommended Beating Bowel Cancer and they have been such a source of support. The website is really good, so helpful and the support from the nurses has been great.”

The release of the figures coincides with Beating Bowel Cancer’s Lift the Lid Day where the charity is encouraging everyone to have a conversation about bowel cancer to help break the taboo around the disease.

For more information about bowel cancer visit beatingbowelcancer.org or if you have any queries or concerns, contact the charity’s Nurse Helpline on 020 8973 0011 email nurse@beatingbowelcancer.org