●» DR John McKay, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical lead for cancer which could become cancerous in the future.
Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer yet, in some areas of the UK, only a third of those who receive a test kit then go on to use it.
But we can all do our bit to reverse this trend: if you are over 60, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to take the test.
As a CCG, we have made the early detection and treatment of cancer one of our key priorities for 2016.
We’re putting lots of measures in place in order to achieve this goal – such as funding education on early detection for our GP practices, taking a targeted approach to screening, and developing a fiveyear cancer strategy for east Cheshire.
We also plan to expand the age at which people are invited for screening and to introduce bowel scope, a relatively new test which finds and removes any polyps which could eventually turn into cancer.
The NHS bowel scope screening programme is gradually being rolled out to all men and women in England aged 55.
Find out more at nhs. uk/ conditions/ bowelcancer-screening/.
Local participation is crucial to our success in improving cancer outcomes, so I would encourage all those living in East Cheshire to take up opportunities for screening when invited, as our residents really are the best weapon we have against this disease.
The test is quick and painless, if a little inconvenient, but this is a small price to pay if it means prolonging your life.