More people than ever before are completing their bowel screening tests in Scotland.
The disease is the third most common form of cancer among Scots, but can be cured if caught early – and completing a screening test is the best way of doing that.
The test is sent every two years to the homes of people aged between 50 and 74 in Scotland – with more than 500,000 people completing it annually.
Professor Bob Steele, Director of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, says the concept of screening is to offer tests to people who don’t have symptoms.
He said:“The purpose is to try to detect the disease before it reaches the stage where it causes symptoms.
“In bowel cancer, the test detects traces of blood in the bowel motion. The test is sent out to peoples’homes in the post with a letter, and they are offered an opportunity to take part in the screening.
“With this test, we pick up very early cancers that can be cured by surgery alone, and about 16 per cent of cancers are so early they can just be removed at the time of colonoscopy and the patient doesn’t need to have surgery at all.” The early signs of bowel cancer are often hidden, so it’s important to look out for these signs or changes in between screenings. If you experience any of the symptoms below, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. • Repeated bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo. • A recent change in your poo that continues for more than four weeks without going back to normal. • Watery poo on its own or with constipation. • Severe pain in your stomach that won’t go away, especially after eating. • You’ve recently lost weight without trying. • You feel tired all the time. • Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. • It’s more common in people over 50, especially men, but nine out of 10 people beat it when it’s caught early. • The free test completed at home can spot hidden blood in your poo – a possible sign of bowel cancer. • If you’re 75 or over, or you’ve made a mistake/ misplaced your test, you can request one from the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre on 0800 0121 833. For more information, visit getcheckedearly.org #jointhebowelmovement