Every fifteen minutes a person is diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in the UK. Yeah you read that right.
Imagine every ad break on your favourite show someone hearing – “I’m sorry. It’s cancer”. Crazy.
As we know if cancer is caught at an early stage it is far more survivable, yet 53% of those diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in the UK are diagnosed at stages three and four. Taking five-year survival rates in females from an awesome 93% if diagnosed at stage one to a terrifying less than 10% at stage four.
With stats like these it’s not surprising that Bowel Cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.
Unlike breast cancer, for example, when it comes to symptom awareness, research funding and early stage diagnosis bowel cancer has gotten the bum deal – despite it being the third biggest cancer killer of women in the UK.
In 2019 Bowel Cancer UK received £4.8 million in donations a quarter of what is raised by the largest breast cancer charity. We have seen the epic impact the awareness drives for breast cancer has had on survival rates and funding. Imagine the lives we could save if we could give bums the boob treatment.
The Covid pandemic has left a cancer collateral. The knock-on effect to a strained NHS, has been devastating for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Screenings have been suspended, routine work deferred, and only urgent cases prioritised for intervention.
In February CRUK estimated that 40,000 less people started cancer treatment in 2020 owing to a dramatic drop in GP referrals and cancellation of life-saving treatments.
Bringing the lens back onto the Cancer community is more important than ever.
And with 1 in 18 women diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime – it really is Time To Chat Shit.
Welcome to the latest GIRLvsCANCER campaign, Time To Chat Shit.
An editorial approach to bowel cancer awareness. Taking the version of bowel cancer you’ve been sold. And flushing it down the loo.
The picture of a bowel cancer patient you have likely been served is an older bloke swigging pints and munching on mountains of red meat. Not a thirty-something athletic, vegan and chic-as-fuck female.
Billing bowel cancer as a male-focused-mischief can be a barrier to symptom awareness and result in less female identifying folk knowing when to go to the GP. The shame shrouding toilet talk also serves as a hindrance to diagnosis. Especially for the gal dem. Boob puns, pink apparel and semi-naked calender shoots have become the norm and have tackled the titty taboo.
Now it’s time to shatter the stigma around our stools.
Lifting the lid (see what we did there) on the seldom seen bowel cancer experience – we gathered five bowel babes from the GIRLvsCANCER community to share their stories and challenge the status quo of how bowel cancer is portrayed. Wiping away what you think you know and covering it in sequins.
Imagine a standard girls night out-out. Dolled up to the nines. Making mates in the bogs. But instead of your average girly gossip our mob want to get down and ‘dirty’. And literally chat shit.
They want to wax lyrical about bleeding from your bowels, getting gassy with it, persistent changes to your poo, agony in the abdomen, intense tiredness and shedding some unexplained kg’s.
From dancing around their handbags to changing their colostomy bags our gals have gained VIP access to the coolest club they never expected to be a part of, but trust us, you’ll be forming an orderly queue to have a night on the tiles with every single one.
This is bowel cancer as you’ve never seen it before.
As well as curating a cool-af campaign Lauren has also designed a two-piece clothing collection designed to get people literally chatting shit and to raise vital funds for Bowel Cancer UK.
This year’s GIVEASHIT Collection is comprised of an organic cotton tee and sports socks both of which house a logo that could be mistaken for a haute couture fashion house (ahem Givenchy).
It’s bowel cancer, but make it fashion. Innit.
These super chic wear-with-everything pieces provide a talking point that not only encourages us to be up front about our feces but also shows we care about the cause. Shows we GIVEASHIT.
GIRLvsCANCER‘s latest campaign has been created in support of charity, Bowel Cancer UK.
20% of profits from the GIVEASHIT Collection will be donated to Bowel Cancer UK to enable them to carry out life saving research and support for those affected by bowel cancer.
Come on in. Take a (loo) seat. And meet Bowel Cancer UK.
Starting life in 1987, the charity was founded by Patrick Dolan following his wife’s death from bowel cancer, and out of frustrations over the lack of treatment options available. Since then, Bowel Cancer UK has become Britain’s leading bowel cancer charity.
And it’s no surprise gang. They do it all! From research and awareness to support and education. When it comes to bowel cancer, they’ve got our collective backs.
Deb is kicking off her role as Patron with Bowel Cancer UK‘s latest fundraising challenge – Step Up For 30. Their YouGov survey of 4,000 adults – commissioned in Feb 2021 – revealed 40% of people are unaware that regular exercise can reduce the risk of bowel cancer – the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.
Deborah says: “I’m really honoured and proud to be named Patron of Bowel Cancer UK. It’s a charity very close to my heart which has supported me since I was diagnosed over four years ago. Right now, bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, and quite simply I want us to get to a place where nobody dies of the disease. I will do everything I can as a Patron to help make this a reality.”
Their ‘Never Too Young’ campaign was the first to champion the voices of young bowel cancer patients. Gaps in care were identified, policy was changed and awareness about the risk of the disease in people under 50 was raised! Bowel Cancer UK are truly leading the charge for change.
As always the GIRLvsCANCER campaign shoots take a village. We are so incredibly grateful to the gorgeous skeleton crew who made this game-changing shoot a reality. The talent to take the concept and moodboards from IHL (In Head Of Lozza) to IRL (In Real Life) was extraordinary. As were the participants – five fierce female-identifying folk who made make shattering stigma in sequins look easy.
Hoping you enjoy the campaign chums. There will be more on the styling and creative crews real soon.
Art Direction: Lauren Mahon
Production Assistants: Perusi Kakaire + Emma Macauley
Location: Mama Shelter London
Photography: Holly McGlynn assisted by Conor Clarke
Behind The Scenes: Kaye Ford + Ben Lister
Make-Up: Laurretta Power + Alyssia Grant + Lauren Hogsden
Hair: Paola Sofia Pinto + Hayley McKee
Styling: Alessia Farnessi + Myra Williams