April is bowel cancer awareness month and this year the main focus is on increased screening. If you are aged 60 to 74 you will be sent a home testing kit every two years. Also, if you are over the age of 74 and want to continue, you can request a free screening kit by calling 0800 707 60 60.
There are around 34,000 new cases of bowel cancer each year and it is the fourth most common cancer in England. It can be difficult to diagnose. The kit can detect bowel cancer early on, before the symptoms begin to show. So the best way to catch it and treat it sooner is to complete the screening kit.
As part of this campaign, doctors at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are advising local residents to take the bowel cancer screening test. Dr Neil Smith GP lead for cancer commissioning for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) has won multiple awards for his cancer work. He has organised a project where G.P.s can encourage more patients to engage with screening. The results are showing an increase in patients completing the kits and more cancers being detected earlier.
Dr Smith said “Bowel cancer screening saves lives which is why I urge anyone between the ages of 60 and 74 to take advantage of the free tests which are sent out every two years. At the moment, only 58% of those in the UK who receive a screening kit actually use it.
Thousands of people are missing out on detecting bowel cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat and the chance of survival dramatically increases. Don’t ignore it, take the test”
Leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of bowel cancer. A number of ways to do this include: stopping smoking, keeping active by doing regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
For further information, visit the NHS Choices be clear on cancer page, to see what help is available.