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Bowel cancer screening could save more lives

Health chiefs across Wigan have welcomed a marked increase in the number of bowel cancer screenings
Health chiefs across Wigan have welcomed a marked increase in the number of bowel cancer screenings

On average only 61 per cent of people living in Lancashire and south Cumbria are taking advantage of a free bowel cancer screening test that has the potential to save lives.

Bowel Cancer UK, the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity, is encouraging people living in the region to take part in the screening programme.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and there is a greater chance of survival.

Uptake rates for bowel cancer screening are low with huge variations across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

The top three areas with the highest uptake are: Morecambe Bay (66%), Fylde and Wyre (66%), and Chorley and South Ribble (63%).

The bottom three areas that need to see the most improvement are: Blackburn with Darwen (55%), Blackpool (56%), and East Lancashire (61%).

If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, 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.

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive for Bowel Cancer UK, said: “It’s quite simple, bowel cancer screening saves lives. I would encourage everyone who’s over 60 to take the test, and for those who are younger to encourage their loved ones over 60 to complete it. It could save yours or your loved ones life.”

Bowel Cancer UK is giving away free wristbands to raise awareness of the charity and the disease. Get yours at : bowelcanceruk.org.uk/free-bowel-cancer-uk-wristband/