An impressive collection of supercars visited North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) on Monday 3 April as part of a drive to raise awareness of bowel cancer.
The Bowel Cancer West Grand Tour started in Land’s End and ended in Bristol, and included a McLaren 675 LT, 1995 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Porsche Carrera S, Porsche Cayman and customised Skoda Fabia. Other supercars joined the tour at different stages across the South West, including a rare LaFerrari and a Lamborghini.
During their visit to NDDH the drivers put on an impressive display for onlookers and spoke to bowel cancer patients and staff about what they are trying to achieve through the tour.
The tour was organised by South West charity Bowel Cancer West as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April. The aim is to raise awareness of the local screening services available and the symptoms of bowel cancer, with the ultimate goal of saving lives.
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust launched a bowel scope screening service in February as part of a wider bowel cancer screening programme run jointly by the Trust and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.
Invitations to come up to the endoscopy unit at NDDH for bowel scope screening are sent out to men and women once they have reached their 55th birthday. The service is being rolled out gradually, with the number of invites going out expected to increase over the next year.
Tanja Brackenbury, specialist nurse practitioner, said: “The key benefit of bowel scope screening is prevention of colorectal cancer. Bowel cancer is a very treatable condition when caught early, so we really encourage people to attend their bowel screening appointment, when invited.
“We are really grateful to Bowel Cancer West for stopping by and for raising awareness in such a fun and attention-grabbing way.”
Leading the Grand Tour are local bowel cancer survivor Roger Stone and colorectal surgeon Mark Coleman, who operated on Mr Stone.
Mr Stone said: “I’m so grateful to Mark for saving my life and delighted I can do this tour with him. If I had ignored my symptoms another few weeks, I probably wouldn’t be here today. The work this charity does to raise awareness is so important.”
Mr Coleman, consultant surgeon at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s great fun driving these incredible cars, but there is a very serious message we are trying to get out: that bowel cancer can be cured in over 90% of cases if caught early.
“During our tour we are passing on life-saving advice, including that anyone who receives a free invitation to an NHS screening test in the post should take up this opportunity.”
Each year, around 40,000 men and women are diagnosed with bowel cancer. It is the UK’s second biggest cause of death through cancer, largely because many people aren’t aware of the symptoms, will ignore them or are too shy to seek advice.
The South West is particularly at risk, with figures from Bowel Cancer West revealing that 9 in 10 people admit their knowledge is ‘average’ or ‘poor’.
Bowel scope screening prevents colorectal cancer by detecting and removing certain polyps (abnormal growths of tissues) in the rectum and colon. People with high-risk polyps are invited for further treatment.
National evidence shows that bowel scope screening can help prevent colorectal cancer, with studies showing that two cases of colorectal cancer are prevented for every 300 people screened.
Bowel scope screening also reduces colorectal cancer mortality. Studies have shown that one colorectal cancer death is prevented for every 300 people screened.
Bowel Cancer West is a Devon-based charity formed in 2010 to raise awareness of bowel cancer, support additional training for GPs and nurses and fund select South West-led research.
For more information, visit their website: www.bowelcancerwest.com
More information about Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is available at: https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/about-us/bowel-cancer-awareness-month/