Bowel cancer patients pay tribute to George Alagiah amid plea for better care

A gaggle of bowel cancer patients have paid tribute to George Alagiah amid a marketing campaign for better therapy choices within the UK for a mutation of the illness.

The net group, named Breaking BRAF after the B-RAF V600E mutation of bowel cancer, stated they have been “deeply saddened” to hear about Alagiah amid their marketing campaign for entry to extra therapies and scientific trials for patients with the mutation.

It was introduced on Monday that the BBC newsreader had died on the age of 67 after he was identified with bowel cancer in 2014.

Dame Deborah James, who was identified with the B-RAF mutation, died on the age of 40 in June final yr.

A spokeswoman for the Breaking BRAF group, Helen Canning, 40, instructed the PA information company: “The entire colorectal cancer (CRC) group was deeply saddened waking to the information of George Alagiah’s passing yesterday morning.

“He was an inspirational man who campaigned exhausting for extra consciousness of CRC and was in a position to assist the marketing campaign to decrease the nationwide screening age to 50 – that is nonetheless not younger sufficient although.

“At Breaking BRAF we’re all too conscious that an increasing number of individuals are being identified of their 40s, 30s and 20s with late stage CRC due to not having the basic signs and being instructed ‘you’re too younger’ by physician after physician.

“George’s passing is yet one more reminder this isn’t an outdated, chubby, unhealthy particular person’s illness.

“Younger folks with it deserve entry to therapies that can assist them survive lengthy after prognosis.”

An estimated 8% to 10% of bowel cancer patients can be identified with the B-RAF mutation, which causes the cancer to be extra aggressive and extra resistant to chemotherapy and normal therapy medicine.

The Breaking BRAF help group on Fb consists of round 150 patients and carers, and their Instagram web page gives details about the mutation.

Clare Mariconda, 41, an admin workforce member for Breaking BRAF who was identified with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2020, instructed PA: “We’re all simply making an attempt to do out bit.

“It in all probability gained’t be quickly sufficient to assist any of us, but when we will do one thing that helps the long run, that’s why we’re all in it actually.”

Ms Mariconda stated the group need the marketing campaign to attain the UK Authorities and the Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Excellence (Good) “when it comes to policy-making”.

She stated they’re additionally aiming their message at researchers and oncologists to see them as “youthful people with a robust drive to stay who’re prepared to strive new medicine and coverings”.

The mother-of-one from Cambridge stated: “Having this mutation implies that you change into extra resistant to the medicine extra shortly and it’s extra aggressive.

“So that you strive one thing, it would work for some time, however then impulsively one or two tumours cease responding, and also you’ve received to decide one thing else to go and check out.”

She stated an absence of therapy choices means “folks can find yourself on some fairly outdated chemo therapies” that some could have already tried.

“You’ll be able to do that, however the probabilities of it being simpler are slim,” she stated.

“So impulsively you simply really feel such as you’re on a really slippery slope of type of deterioration, actually.

“It’s fairly scary, and folks appear to deteriorate type of fairly fast.”

She stated that one of many founders of the Breaking BRAF group, Clare Fowler, was “nonetheless contributing to our group up till every week earlier than she handed away” in April.

Ms Mariconda stated the group would love to arrange their very own charity, however added that at current “we’re simply making an attempt to make as a lot noise and lift as a lot consciousness as we will concerning the scenario”.

Andrew Harrison, 38, who was one of many first folks to set up the Breaking BRAF group in September 2022 alongside Ms Fowler, instructed PA: “This sickness has taken every part from me, together with my independence and my position as head of my household.

“The place as soon as my household had a robust father determine watching over and defending them, they now face an unsure future which is difficult for youngsters to cope with.”

Mr Harrison, a father-of-four from Rochdale, was identified with bowel cancer in September 2020, however stated he was solely instructed he had the B-RAF mutation over a yr later, in December 2021.

Since then, he has undergone a sequence of therapies, together with important operations, chemotherapy, focused remedy, radiotherapy and supplementation, saying: “You identify it, I’ve in all probability tried it.”

By February this yr, Mr Harrison stated his cancer had progressed to the purpose the place he was “absolutely disabled” and reliant on his spouse.

He stated: “We’d like the group to stick with it the message till a treatment is discovered.”

Richard Wilson, professor of gastrointestinal oncology on the College of Glasgow, and a medical adviser for Bowel Cancer UK, stated: “[The B-RAF mutation] makes the cells resistant… to our normal therapies, our chemotherapy medicine and our radiotherapies.

“Extra individuals who have the B-RAF mutation of bowel cancer, it’s not that their cancer presents in a different way, it’s extra possible to have harder patterns of unfold which have a worse general outlook.”

Prof Wilson stated: “Fifteen, 20 years in the past once I began specialising in bowel cancer, bowel cancer within the below 50s was 5% of the full inhabitants. It’s now, in that quick time frame, 10%.

“The prediction is that by 2040, it is going to be 40% to 50% within the below 50s, so bowel cancer within the below 50s is actually growing.”

He stated experimental scientific trials are going down throughout the UK to “develop better therapies” and “better predictors for folks so we will get better outcomes”.

“That is the type of story that I’m listening to day-after-day in my clinics,” he stated.

“Individuals who’ve sorted themselves, are getting on with life after which bang, they’ve received this tumour and your life adjustments.

“We’re getting better general at treating this, we’re getting better at curing extra folks, we’re getting better at individuals who can’t be cured, having them stay longer with better high quality of life, however we’ve nonetheless received such a good distance to go.”

Patients and carers with the B-RAF mutation can go to the Breaking BRAF Fb group at or the Instagram web page at

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