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Bowel cancer screening programme

The aim of the bowel cancer screening programme is to pick up bowel cancers at an early stage before they cause any symptoms. People participating in the bowel cancer screening programme reduce their risk of dying from bowel cancer by about one sixth.

The screening programme is offered to men and women aged between 60 and 69. The screening involves patients being sent a test kit in the post, along with easy to follow instructions. The test aims to detect blood in your stools. 94 out of every 100 patients have a negative test and are informed by post. Roughly 4 out of every 100 will have a borderline stool sample test and will be asked to submit another sample for testing.

About 2 out of 100 of those sending in samples have a positive test and it is recommended that they have a colonoscopy (telescope test on the bowel). Most of these patients will have causes other than cancer to explain the positive test. The advantages of the screening programme have been shown in large clinical trials. It is effective at picking up cancers at an earlier stage, improving the results of treatment and improving survival.

More details can be found on http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/bowel/

Bowel cancer screening programme