People over 60 urged to have regular screening
Friday, June 15, 2012
Bowel Cancer UK's statement in relation to the West
Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit press release that people aged
over 60 have been urged to have regular bowel cancer screenings
after scientists found those who did had a better chance of
Deborah Alsina, CEO, Bowel Cancer UK said: "This research
highlights the importance of screening. It does work and it's the
most effective tool for detecting cancer early especially among
those most at risk i.e. people over 60. The problem is that only
around 50% of people return their kits, and more worrying still is
that in some areas that number is significantly lower. It is
vitally important that we identify a better way of encouraging
people to take part in screening. I can't stress enough how
important it is for people to take part, it might save your life."
Press release from West Midlands Cancer Intelligence
People aged over 60 have been urged to have regular bowel cancer
screenings after scientists found those who did had a better chance
Experts said those who performed the test at home and went to
subsequent appointments were more likely to be diagnosed at an
earlier stage than those diagnosed from their symptoms.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and
women, with around 40,000 people diagnosed with the disease each
Researchers looked at people aged 60 to 69 who were diagnosed
with the disease in the West Midlands between January 2006 and
September 2011. They compared the stage at diagnosis in patients
picked up at screening compared to those diagnosed from
They found that 18.5 per cent of bowel cancers detected through
screening were at the earliest stages compared with 9.4 per cent of
cancers diagnosed through symptomatic routes.
Sam Johnson, lead researcher based at the West Midlands Cancer
Intelligence Unit, said: 'When bowel cancer is diagnosed at an
earlier stage, it's easier to treat, has a lower chance of coming
back and better survival rates. 'Our research shows that screening
can play an important role in improving bowel cancer survival by
picking up cancers at an earlier stage.'
The findings were presented at the National Cancer Intelligence
Network (NCIN) conference in Birmingham.
NCIN head Chris Carrigan said: 'When bowel cancer is found at
the earliest stage, there is an excellent chance of survival, with
more than 90 per cent of people surviving the disease at least five
years. 'This study highlights the potential improvements we can
make through encouraging more people to take up their screening
invitation so the disease is diagnosed earlier.'
Cancer Research UK head of health information and evidence Hazel
Nunn added: 'Bowel screening uptake is worryingly low, particularly
amongst men. 'And this is a useful reminder for older people to
complete their bowel screening kit when it arrives in the
The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every
two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69.
People in this age group are sent an invitation followed by a
screening kit, so they can do the test at home. It involves wiping
small stool samples onto the testing card, which is then sealed and
sent in the post to a lab for testing.
The test detects tiny amounts of blood, which you cannot
normally see, as polyps and bowel cancers sometimes bleed. So the
test does not diagnose the disease but will tell you if you need a
further examination by a doctor.
Around 98 per cent of samples are judged as 'normal' although
this does not guarantee that a person does not have bowel