We welcome recommendation to introduce simplified screening test
Following the announcement today, 15 January 2016, by the UK National Screening Committee recommending the introduction of the FIT (faecal immunochemical test) home screening kit for bowel cancer in England, leading charity Bowel Cancer UK has welcomed the announcement. But says more investment to increase the capacity of colonoscopy services is critical to make significant improvements for patients.
Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: "We have long called for the introduction of FIT into the bowel screening programme. The introduction of the new test will save lives - it is proven to be more accurate and easier for people to complete."
"This is a vital step forwards for bowel screening because the simpler test has been proven to increase the number of people who participate and we therefore have the opportunity to save more lives. Currently only around half of those invited actually take part in the NHS bowel cancer screening programme, meaning opportunities to detect cancer early are being lost."
"Bowel cancer is treatable and curable if diagnosed early. Ninety-eight per cent of people diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer. However as it develops and spreads that drops to just eight per cent. We must ensure more people are diagnosed early and screening is vital to detecting bowel cancer in the earliest stages."
"We know that introducing FIT will have an impact on already struggling colonoscopy services as it will increase uptake. There is also an opportunity to introduce the test at a more sensitive level so that more cancers can be detected early. However without additional investment in colonoscopy services this opportunity will be lost and people will continue to die needlessly. Even though the Government recently announced a diagnostic fund, there still appears to be little progress and we therefore urge the Government to urgently prioritise and implement investment."
"We urge the Minister to ratify this recommendation as soon as possible and look forward to continuing our working partnership with Public Health England to support the rapid implementation of FIT so together we can save more lives."