John Barnes

Patient Advocate

John Barnes John Barnes
Know about me John Barnes

John Barnes


Patient Advocate


John Barnes,Patient Advocate,WP1

I am a bowel cancer survivor.  In 2000, I was diagnosed with a Dukes stage 2 bowel cancer in transverse colon following an emergency presentation with a rectal haemorrhage. 

I was born in the Cambridgeshire Fens in the East of England, I went to school in the  Midlands, and am a Business  graduate from Coventry University. I now live near Harrogate in rural North Yorkshire, UK. I had a career in industry and owned my own lighting design and distribution company for 20 years which I sold in 2015.

Since my operation I have  acted as a ‘friend’ to others who are going through similar experiences with bowel cancer. A role that I get immense satisfaction from.

I am currently a Patient Advocate for Bowel Cancer Intelligence UK and Yorkshire Cancer Research and I have represented the BCI UK at the GB Colorectal Surgeons Conference, the Public Health England Conference and also the UK Government’s cross party ‘Battle against Cancer’ Conference. I also sit on the NHS Colorectal Expert Group which is charged with producing ‘The Clinical Advice for the Commissioning of the whole Bowel Cancer Pathway’.

I now willingly give my time to try and help with the improvement of the outcome of all bowel cancer patients; I feel that I am one of the lucky ones. My personal aim is to help take the luck element out of the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

I am married with 2 adult daughters and two grandchildren. I love travelling and seeing the world, golf, cycling, art, antiques, photography, and family history research and can trace his family back to the winning side at the Battle of Hastings in 1066!

I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer following an emergency presentation with a rectal haemorrhage. I had severe complications immediately post-surgery and I was not expected to survive.

I am one of the lucky ones. I am now a 20 year survivor who has beaten the odds and am very grateful indeed. 

Ever since then I have tried to help other BC patients, by offering a personal ‘one to one’ support through their cancer journey. I have also worked within hospitals and for cancer research organisations

I was part of the working group ‘Learning from patient experience’ for my local NHS Hospital Trust, I was also part of the working group that revised ‘The clinical pathway for the treatment of Bowel Cancer’ for the NHS.

I have been a patient advocate / representative with Bowel Cancer Intelligence UK and currently act in a similar role for Data Can UK and CRUK Grand Challenge: Optimisticc

My mantra is to take the luck out of the diagnosis and treatment of bowel cancer, by developing better screening, improving diagnosis and treatment plans.

Over 43,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with  bowel cancer this year. There will be over 17,000 deaths attributed to the disease. Within these statistics is an alarming growing number of younger patients.

We need to increase Bowel Cancer Awareness encouraging the take up of the national screening program, and the awareness of the symptoms that are associated with the disease both by the public and our General Practitioners. We need also to address some of the societal cultural issues and stigma’s associated particularly with screening.

By our combined actions, creating awareness and getting a clear and consistent message  ‘out there’, we can reduce these numbers and save the lives of our loved ones…………………….That’s why I do what I do!

– John