Bowel cancer and lynch syndrome

I have been contacted by constituents recently about bowel cancer and lynch syndrome.

I sympathise profoundly with anybody who has been affected by bowel cancer and I pay tribute to organisations such as Bowel Cancer UK who campaign tirelessly to help support those who suffer from the disease.

It is estimated that 175,000 people in the UK have Lynch syndrome. I am concerned by reports that 95% of people with Lynch syndrome are unaware they have it because people are not being systematically tested.

As you are aware, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance which recommends expanding testing for Lynch syndrome for all those with a diagnosis of bowel cancer. However, a report by Bowel Cancer UK highlights concerns that some hospitals are not testing for Lynch syndrome, or providing patients with timely care once they are identified because they don't have the resources or the capacity in place.

The Government has said that updated guidance from NICE will need to be considered by NHS England as part of its policy development process. NICE guidance has been sent to the Genetic Medicine Clinical Reference Group and the Group has been asked to submit a Preliminary Policy Proposal and to identify a Clinical Lead for progressing the proposal. I can assure constituents I will follow developments in this area closely and bear in mind the points you have raised.

More widely I support Bowel Cancer UK's call for a personalised and patient-centred approach to the care of people with long-term conditions, such as Lynch syndrome. At the 2015 General Election I stood on a manifesto that pledged to give those with complex care needs a personal care plan, designed with the individual and their family and tailored to their personal circumstances.

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