28 October 2020


Bowel Research UK has teamed up with Olympus Medical UKIE to produce a series of videos to help people understand the current environment for clinicians and patients and to provide some advice and guidance during these difficult times.

We all know that Covid19 has caused enormous disruption to daily life.

For people living with bowel cancer and bowel disease, this disruption has been terrifying – even life-threatening.

When the pandemic struck surgeries had to be canceled or postponed and access to treatment restricted. GP referrals for cancer have fallen dramatically – but the disease hasn’t gone away, it’s just not being picked up.

At the height of lockdown, Bowel Research UK alongside other fellow charities granted funding to CovidSurg. The aim was to understand how surgical care could be delivered safely in a pandemic and make sure patients can get the treatment they need.

Working with our People and Research Together network they developed a guide for patients facing surgery in the era of Covid19.

The guide is designed by patients for patients, addressing the concerns, fears, and anxieties they face. It is an invaluable resource in getting people back to hospital for the care and treatment they urgently need.

Olympus Medical UKIE shares our concern about delayed treatment, as well as our vision to support and protect patients in the pandemic.

So we have joined forces on an edition of their ‘Healthcare Conversations’ series. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you videos of patients discussing their fears and anxieties facing cancer treatment in the pandemic, and why getting treatment back up to speed is absolutely crucial. Aneel Bhangu, a Consultant colorectal surgeon in Birmingham, also discusses these issues and explains what patients can expect when having treatment in these uncertain times.

As Francis White, Director of Medical and Surgical Business at Olympus Medical UKIE says;

’With any cancer, and especially bowel cancer, the earlier it can be caught, more effective treatment can be achieved, with much better outcomes for patients. While worries around Covid are justified, we share the mission of Bowel Research UK to help patients put this in context and seek the help they need as soon as possible.

Through highlighting Bowel Research UK’s work on projects such as the CovidSurg Patient Booklet, together we hope to provide some reassurance and ultimately encourage patients safely back into hospital for diagnosis and treatment; to ensure continued early diagnosis of Bowel Cancer and Bowel diseases.”

We already know the consequences of disrupted cancer care can be tragic –  a backlog of cases has built up and needs to be cleared. Diagnostic tests like colonoscopies need to get back to normal levels. Life-saving surgeries need to be completed ASAP.

Beyond cancer, thousands of patients with IBD and other bowel conditions are in equally urgent need of surgery and treatment that could transform their lives for the better.

Rebecca Porta, CEO of Bowel Research UK Comments:

Bowel Research UK is committed to bringing patents, their families, the research community, healthcare professionals, and decision-makers together. In these challenging and unprecedented times it has never been more important to come together and support one another, to raise awareness, encourage an early diagnosis and improve the outlook for current and future generations through investment in cutting edge research”

We’re really proud to have teamed up with Olympus and CovidSurg to do this crucial work. It is testament to the power of the People & Research Together network that in such adversity they were able to step up and support people facing treatment at a time of unprecedented difficulty.

You can see the full suite of video clips below on our YouTube Channel:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the patients involved in putting together the guidelines and these excellent video series and to all the medical professionals involved in the CovidSurg project –  a phenomenal research team that has been incredibly successful in mobilising data and interpreting results to aid decision making on the front line of healthcare across the globe.

A huge thank you also to Olympus Medical UKIE who have been instrumental in getting this series of videos off the ground and made available for dissemination.

We hope these videos will be a useful resource for patients and clinicians throughout the world during these very difficult times.

Do get in touch with us and let us know your feedback.

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