Nearly ½ of people living
in the North West ignore the bowel cancer screening test
ON average only 53% of people living in
the North West who are sent the bowel cancer screening test for free in the post
actually complete it. Bowel Cancer UK, the UK's leading bowel cancer research
charity, is encouraging people living in the region to take part in the
screening programme as part of:- 'Bowel Cancer Awareness Month' in April
In April alone across the UK, nearly 3,500 people will be diagnosed with bowel
cancer and over 1,300 people will die of the disease. It's the nation's second
biggest cancer killer, however it shouldn't be. It's treatable and curable,
especially if diagnosed early.
Uptake rates for bowel cancer screening are low with huge variations across the
North West. The bottom 5 areas that need to see the most improvement are:-
Central Manchester (40%), North Manchester (42%), South Manchester (44%),
Liverpool (47%) and Knowsley (48%). The top five areas with the highest uptake
are Eastern Cheshire (61%), Cumbria (60%), West Cheshire (59%), Fylde and Wyre
(58%) and Southport and Formby (57%).
The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early
stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and a greater chance
of survival. If you're registered with a GP and aged 60 to 74, you will receive a
test in the post every 2 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.
In 2018, England will replace the current screening test with a simpler and more
accurate test; Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). FIT is a more sensitive test
than the current one, and has the potential to detect more cancers and
pre-cancerous polyps as well as increasing screening participation.
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, says:- "It's quite
simple, bowel cancer screening saves lives. It's predicted that even using the
current test, the screening programme will save over 2,000 lives each year by
2025. I would encourage everyone who's over 60 to take the test, and for those
who are younger to encourage their loved ones over 60 to complete it. It could
save yours or your loved ones life."
Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the
importance of taking part in bowel cancer screening. Bowel Cancer UK's
award winning health promotion team is looking for work places and community
groups in the local area to host a talk about screening in April.
The 30 minute
talk is delivered by a trained health promotion volunteer, who often has a
personal experience of bowel cancer.
The programme, which was awarded a Health and Wellbeing Award by the Royal
Society of Public Health, stresses the importance of those who are of screening
age to take the bowel cancer screening test, raises awareness of the disease as
well as good bowel health, and highlights the symptoms and risks.
If you're interested in hosting a talk at your work place, community group and
any other place that has an existing group or charity,
online or send them an