2016 marks the ten year anniversary of the introduction of bowel cancer screening in the UK. Bowel Cancer UK is urging people during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to spread the word among their family, friends and colleagues to take part in screening.
Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer yet it’s a disease which is often overlooked and diagnosed too late. Every year over 41,000 people (one every 15 minutes) are diagnosed with bowel cancer and 16,200 people die of the disease.
The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (and its equivalent in each of the home nations) can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. Since its launch 10 years ago, it has been proven to save lives. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74 (50-74 in Scotland), you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of England only a third of those who receive a test complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.
Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer. However, this drops significantly as the disease develops. Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early. If you are over 60 (or 50 in Scotland), take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 (over 50 in Scotland) in your life to take the test.”
A number of celebrities are also supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s call for people to take part in screening, including ITV News presenter Charlene White, Lynda Bellingham’s husband, Michael Pattemore, former England cricketer Chris Read and actor Ben Richards.
For further information see: https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/