Beating bowel cancer together

Crucial changes to the bowel cancer screening programme in England

Today the Government approved the UK National Screening Committee’s (UKNSC) recommendation to replace the current test used in the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BSCP) in England with a new test – the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT).

Over the years we have proactively engaged with the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme to campaign for this change including participating in numerous committee's with screening experts.  Last year we worked with the Cancer Taskforce to ensure adoption of FIT was included as a recommendation in the Cancer Strategy, and we made a strong case for change in our response to the UKNSC consultation on whether the Programme should adopt FIT. Earlier this year our campaign supporters tweeted and wrote to Jane Ellison MP, Public Health Minister to encourage her to approve the recommendation. We will continue with this active engagement as the programme is implemented.

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive, Bowel Cancer UK said: 

"Today’s announcement by the Government to replace the test used in the England Bowel Cancer Screening Programme with the new Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) represents an important and crucial step forward in saving more lives from bowel cancer.

We at Bowel Cancer UK have long called for the introduction of FIT and have played an active role over many years campaigning for this change so we are delighted it is finally happening.

FIT has been proven to be more accurate and easier for people to complete than the current test used in the Programme. Research has shown that FIT can increase uptake by 10% and even double uptake in groups that have previously not taken part in the programme. 

This is crucial as we know that screening has a vital role to play in detecting bowel cancer early, when it is more treatable and chances of survival are high, so we are delighted that the Government has committed to introducing FIT in England and we look forward to continuing working with them to ensure FIT is introduced into the programme quickly.

Now England has taken this vital step forwards, we urge the Assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland to follow England's announcement in the near future and introduce FIT to their screening programmes."

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