Bowel Disease can affect people of any age from a 10 year old child to a grandparent aged 90.
Cancer is the most common form of Bowel disease but hundreds of thousands throughout the UK suffer from conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Thanks to ground breaking research by the Bowel Disease Research Foundation (BDRF) into the cause, treatment and prevention of all bowel diseases, their outlook is more positive today than ever before.
However, there remains a huge amount to be done, with bowel disease prevailing yet often slipping under the radar as a priority issue. 114 people in Britain will be diagnosed with bowel cancer every day, while inflammatory bowel diseases are on the rise, with about 620,000 people affected.
BDRF has invested upwards of £2 million in the fight against these illnesses. Our research has had a major impact on treatment, winning awards, being published in the prestigious Lancet journal and helping to change national treatment guidelines.
Last year we launched our ambitious ‘Delphi’ project, an innovative democratic process which was the first of its kind in the field of bowel disease and incorporated the largest ever public survey on surgical research in this area.
Through it we have formed a research strategy which tackles the issues that matter most in improving care and treatment, building in patients’ voices from the very start.
The process began by asking the full membership of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, the professional body for bowel surgeons, to submit what they considered the most important research questions.
After receiving over 500, we whittled these down through two rounds of voting among the members to come up with a list of 25.
The end result included 15 key questions relating to cancer and 10 to other bowel diseases.
We then consulted with patients. This began with a patient-surgeon workshop at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, where a range of people from around Britain, who had experienced various forms of bowel disease and different treatments, sat side by side with doctors to determine where research efforts should be focussed.
We followed this up with a live public survey at the Excel centre, where an audience of over 300 voted on these priorities, ranking the list of 25 questions by order of importance.
What this means is that our researchers now know what matters most to the people they deliver care for. As they begin their search for the next generation of life-saving treatments, they do so safe in the knowledge that this work brings hope to millions of patients and their families across the country. People like our patient-advocate Trustee – Azmina Verjee, who launched the Delphi project with the words:
“Right now, BDRF-funded researchers across the land are searching for the next generation of gold-standard treatments; incredible discoveries are in the pipeline waiting to benefit tomorrow’s patients.”
And at difficult times, when my symptoms flare with no respite in sight, I close my eyes and hold that thought.”
To find out further information on the BDRF Delphi Project and to find out how to get involved in future projects please visit our website www.bdrf.org.uk