26 October 2023

By Sam Alexandra Rose

Our Patient and Public Involvement Manager Sam blogs monthly for Bowel Research UK, sharing her experiences of bowel cancer and Lynch Syndrome.  In this month’s blog, Sam introduces the  new BRUK podcast, previews some new episodes and explains the reasons why BRUK set it up.


On 27th September 2023, Bowel Research UK launched its very own podcast, hosted by yours truly! It’s called “Can I Butt In?” which tackles the many issues related to bowel cancer and bowel disease.

You’ll notice from our list of exciting episodes set out down below in this blog post that we’re often taking everyday topics and putting our bowel-related spin on them – such as work, nutrition, mental health and more.

In some episodes I speak one-to-one with a patient about their illness experiences or dig into the details of a researcher’s study. In others, I sit down with both a patient and a researcher to get different perspectives on an issue.

Why create a podcast?

As you may know, I’m a patient myself and something I find very helpful and rewarding is having a platform to tell my story. One of the ways in which I’ve been able to do this is by being a guest on various podcasts with hosts who are great listeners and insightful speakers.

I wanted to give a similar platform to patients living with bowel conditions, and researchers working to find treatments, cures, and ways to diagnose these conditions and improve the quality of life of people living with them. More people need to hear about bowel disease, the experiences of those living with it, and the work of those seeking to help!

We release one episode every other Wednesday at 9am. You can listen to all the episodes so far and click through to the transcripts on our podcast page.

Here’s a roundup of the episodes we’ve released so far and what’s to come:

Episode 001: Pelvic Exenteration (27th September 2023)

Sharon Applin and Charles West discuss pelvic exenteration surgery which involves removing all the organs in the pelvis and what this means for quality of life for the patient afterwards. Sharon had this surgery due to squamous cell cancer and Charles ‘Charlie’ West is conducting research into the effects of this surgery known as empty pelvis syndrome.

Episode 002: Visual Impairment and Bowel Screening (11th October 2023)

This episode features Eamonn Dunne, the Partnerships and Projects Development Manager for Thomas Pocklington Trust, a national charity supporting blind and partially sighted people. In this episode, we discuss the difficulties that people with visual impairments have when taking a FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test), which can be essential for the early detection and diagnosis of bowel disease. Eamonn introduces a prototype, named FIT-aid, which could help people with visual impairments take a FIT with ease.

Episode 003: Illness, Disability and the Workplace (25th October 2023)

Matt Black, another of our regular bloggers, and Steven Jones talk about the impact workplace cultures can have on workers with illnesses and disabilities. They also discuss what arrangements should be made to improve communication and accommodate people with illnesses or disabilities. Readers of our blog will know that Matt had bowel cancer successfully treated by surgery during the first COVID lockdown. Steven is the founder of the Disability Connect mentoring scheme, and is a wheelchair user with spinal muscular atrophy.

Coming soon:

  • Gut microbiome with Adele Sayers and Simon Carding
  • Organisation and self-advocacy with Nigel Horwood
  • Bipolar disorder and cancer screening
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in colonoscopies with Alicia Toon
  • Nutrition and Crohn’s Disease with Louise Usher
  • IBD, stress and creativity with Jacqueline Black
  • Cancer and the use of language with Simon Boddis
  • Self-employment and illness with Pete Wheatstone

Be our guest!

We’re keen to have new guests on the podcast. If you have something to say, please get in touch! First, do have a listen to an episode or two to get a feel for what it’s all about. If you’re a patient or expert by lived experience, think about what you would like to discuss (the more specific, the better!) and fill in this form to let me know.

If you’re a researcher, drop me an email (sam@bowelresearchuk.org) to discuss how we can work together to spread the word about your research – and if you can team up on a podcast with an expert by lived experience, that’s great too! I firmly believe in the importance of elevating the patient voice and highlighting the great work researchers are doing, which is one of the reasons why we started this podcast. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoy talking to our guests.