Dumfries And Galloway NHS Highlight Bowel Cancer Awareness Screening

Four in ten people living in Dumfries and Galloway ignore the bowel cancer screening test – people’s lives are at risk


On average 60% of people living in Dumfries and Galloway who are sent the bowel cancer screening test for free in the post actually complete it.  NHS Dumfries and Galloway and Bowel Cancer UK, are encouraging people living in the region to take part in the screening programme as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.


In April alone across Scotland, over 300 people will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and over 130 people will die of the disease. However bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.


The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and a greater chance of survival. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 50-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.


In 2017, Scotland will replace the current screening test with a simpler and more accurate test.


Emma Anderson, Head of Scotland for Bowel Cancer UK, says: “It’s quite simple, bowel cancer screening saves lives. It’s predicted that even using the current test, the screening programme will save over 2,000 lives each year by 2025. I would encourage everyone who’s over 50 to take the test, and for those who are younger to encourage their loved ones over 50 to complete it. It could save yours or your loved ones life.”


Emma Groves, Staff Nurse in Day Surgery says:


“Bowel cancer, if caught early, is a curable disease and the best way of detecting it early is to use the bowel screening test sent out to all 50-74 year olds in Scotland every two years.  It’s essential for people to stay alert to any potential signs of bowel cancer in between screenings – if you notice any blood in your poo, or a change in your bowel movements lasting more than 3 weeks, contact your GP as soon as possible.
“If you are referred for further investigation the friendly team at endoscopy will support you through your colonoscopy.”


Kippford resident John Withers became a campaigner following his diagnosis and treatment. John now uses his personal experience to raise awareness of bowel cancer and gives up every Friday to volunteer in the cancer information and support centre at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, he also tours the country giving talks on behalf of Bowel Cancer UK.


“The test really doesn’t take long and can be done in the comfort of your own home. There are so many things you can’t be tested for so to have this test is free, and to ignore it, really is putting your own life at risk.”


Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of taking part in bowel cancer screening.


To find out more about bowel cancer and screening, visit: bowelcanceruk.org.uk

Follow us on social media Twitter @Bowel_Cancer_UK and Facebook charityBCUK

The full list of uptake rates of bowel cancer screening in Scotland by each health board (ISD Scotland. Invitations sent between 1st May 2014 and 30th April 2016.):

Greater Glasgow and Clyde 52.5%
Lanarkshire 52.8%
Ayrshire and Arran 56.7%
Lothian 56.7%
Fife 57.7%
Forth Valley 57.9%
Western Isles 58.5%
Tayside 59.9%
Dumfries and Galloway 60.6%
Highland 60.9%
Grampian 62.5%
Orkney 62.6%
Borders 63.0%
Shetland 66.5%


About Bowel Cancer UK

Bowel Cancer UK is the UK’s leading bowel cancer research charity, determined to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer. The charity supports and influences research, educates patients, the public and professionals about bowel cancer and campaigns for early diagnosis and best treatment and care for all those affected. For more information, visit bowelcanceruk.org.uk

About bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer, affecting both men and women. Every 15 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s 41,200 people every year.


Bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer. However, this drops significantly as the disease develops. Early diagnosis really does save lives.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo

A change in bowel habit lasting three weeks or more

Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason

Unexplained weight loss

A pain or lump in your tummy

Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP.

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