Victory for Sussex campaigner as bowel screening age set to lower to 50

A campaigner who lost her mum to bowel cancer has succeeded in getting the Government to lower the screening age for the devastating illness.

Lauren with her mum Fiona
Lauren with her mum Fiona

Lauren Backler is celebrating after Public Health England announced the screening age will soon start at 50-years-old.

The 27-year-old from Eastbourne has been lobbying for years to make a change after her mother Fiona died of the cancer aged just 55. The previous screening age in England was 60.

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Reacting to the news, Lauren said, “It’s been nearly a three year campaign after losing Mum, and it will mean that so many thousands of people and families won’t have to go through what mine has.

“I can’t even explain how I’m feeling right now, but this is for you Mum!”

Lauren was spurred into action when she learned that devastatingly, had her mother lived in Scotland, she would have already been screened three times.

She said, “I won’t stop until I know the implementation date for this. It’s overwhelming and incredible news, but is no good if it takes forever to implement. Time is of the essence!”

Lauren and Fiona

Lauren rallied almost half a million people to sign a petition calling for the bowel cancer screening age to be lowered, and handed it in to Parliament earlier this year.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd called the announcement ‘fantastic news’. He said, “This is a testament to the amazing campaign led by a local Eastbourne young woman, Lauren Backler, whose petition reached more than 470,000. An astonishing success.

“Lauren brought the issue to me within a matter of weeks of my re-election in 2017. Not only was I moved by the passion and commitment she showed in her determination to get the Department of Health to reduce the age of Bowel Screening from 60 to 50 – which would have saved her mother’s life – but also her focus on ensuring the campaign had broad support across communities, political parties and the country.”