Join the Pelican charity’s bid to improve the lives of those with ‘below the belt’ cancers on World Cancer Day this Saturday, February 4th.


Everybody can do their bit towards the global impact of cancer – whether it’s by making healthy lifestyle choices or getting worrying symptoms checked early. You could join forces with others to improve access to care, change perceptions or create healthier environments.

World Cancer Day 2017 is a chance to reflect on what we can all do and to take action to make a real difference to the fight against cancer.

The Basingstoke-based Pelican Cancer Foundation funds clinical research into advancing precision surgery in the treatment of bowel, liver, bladder and prostate cancers.

Since 2003, it has invested more than £2.5 million in research and trained around 13,000 clinicians on courses and workshops that cover the latest advances in cancer treatment, technology and surgery techniques.

This has led to great advances in clinical practice – the most prominent being the international adoption of Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) as the gold standard surgery for bowel cancer.

Another of the Pelican’s major achievements is the use of Focal Therapy for treating prostate cancer.

Recently a medical breakthrough was announced in the diagnosis of prostate cancer using MRI scans.

Pelican seed-funded Research Fellow Hashim Ahmed in the early days of the study, and this led to the breakthrough findings that the detection of aggressive tumours in the prostate almost doubled when using the advanced MRI method.

In addition to the vital on-going research funding for cancer specialists,  Pelican operates a national training programme into early stage bowel cancer, SPECC – Significant Polyp and Early Colorectal Cancer.

Free workshops are currently running for every multi-disciplinary bowel cancer team (MDT), including surgeons, radiologists and pathologists, in England, Scotland and Wales.

SPECC aims to improve early diagnosis and management of the disease, sharing expertise and supporting patients, for example through the development of information leaflets by cancer specialist nurses.

The programme was launched in 2015 and has already sparked debate among cancer specialists and led to changes in clinical practice and the setting up of local leads. The best-performing NHS Trusts have already shown a reduction of five-year colorectal cancer rates by 13 per cent, compared with the national average, and the programme has been hailed a huge success.

It could potentially save the NHS £35million by diagnosing bowel cancers at an early stage, and keeping clinicians informed on decision-making and treatment, and potentially improve the lives of more than 6,200 patients a year.

Mr Brendan Moran, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at HHFT Basingstoke, was the lead in setting up the SPECC programme and delivers many of the courses. One of the surgeons attending the Surrey workshop recently said it had inspired him to set up a SPECC MDT locally and streamline pathways of referral.  Another attendee described the workshop as “thought-provoking and useful.”

The Pelican Cancer Foundation will continue to deliver its workshops to a further 1000 clinicians this year. It is also developing a national training programme on advanced bowel cancer.

Find out more about the Pelican’s work this World Cancer Day and support us by visiting