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Bowel Cancer Screening saves lives

22/01/2019

Forty-two per cent of people across the South of Tyne who received bowel screening kits in 2017 did not complete them.  However, bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. If it's detected at an early stage, through screening before symptoms appear, it's easier to treat and there's a better chance of surviving it.

The South of Tyne Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, hosted by the QE Hospital in Gateshead, and is urging more people to take their screening tests. To detect cases of bowel cancer sooner, the programme offers a test to all men and women aged 60-74. Individuals are sent the home test kit every two years through the post, until they reach the age of 74.

The home testing kit is used to collect a tiny stool sample which is then returned to the screening laboratory in hygienic, freepost packaging. It will then be checked for traces of blood that may not be visible to the naked eye, but could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

One man who knows all too well the value of completing a testing kit, is 74 year old Brian Lilley who completed a test kit three years ago and credits it with being alive and well today.
Brian said: “I received a bowel screening kit in the post one day and didn’t think anything of it as I’d taken part in the programme in the past. I was surprised when the programme contacted me and explained that there had been microscopic amounts of blood found in the stool sample that I had returned. The point of my story is simple, don’t throw away the bowel screening kits when you receive them through the post. If I had not done the test I would have continued with my life oblivious of my condition as I had no symptoms at all, and this would have gone on while the cancer grew and spread. By the time it was discovered it is very likely that it would have been too late to operate. I would urge everyone to do it – it’s really quick and easy to complete and could save your life. Early intervention is the key to this terrible illness.”

If you haven’t completed your bowel screening kit you can ask for a replacement kit by contacting the screening programme Tel 0800 707 6060. 

For more information go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-cancer-screening/fob-test/

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