We’re being urged to take up offers for bowel cancer screening in Eastbourne.
Figures show fewer than 3 in 5 of us took up the call to be checked in 2014/15, which Bowel Cancer UK say could be putting lives at risk.
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 60-74, 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.
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, said, “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 one’s life.”
A spokesperson for the NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG said, “The Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG uptake for bowel cancer screening in 2014/15 was 59.3% and the Hastings and Rother CCG was 57.8%. We are keen to increase the uptake of screening and are currently funding an initiative in Hastings and Rother to promote the screening programme, which is part of our East Sussex Better Together transformation programme. This project will be evaluated and, if proven to be successful, will be rolled out in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford. All of this work is, of course, part of the Sussex Bowel Cancer screening programme as a whole and we shall also be looking at the work done, and the lessons learned, by other CCGS within Sussex.”
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and more information about the disease and its symptoms can be found online.