Why is screening important
Bowel cancer is more common in people over 50 years of age, especially in men. One in 20 of us over 50 years of age will get bowel cancer at some point in our lives.
Screening aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms. The screening test looks for hidden blood in the bowel motion, as this may suggest a higher chance of bowel cancer.
Other changes in the bowel can also be found, such as polyps (non-cancerous growths). If found, most polyps can be easily removed and often prevent future cancers developing.
If bowel cancer is detected early enough through screening, there is a 90% chance
of treating the disease successfully.
For approximatelyevery 650 people invited for regular screening, one bowel cancer death will be prevented. In Scotland this will mean the screening programme will prevent at least 150 deaths from bowel cancer each year.
About the screening programme
The Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme will invite all men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 years who are registered with a GP. It is therefore vital that you inform your doctor’s surgery of your latest address so we can send you regular invitations for screening.
Other eligible individuals who are not registered with a General Practice such as prisoners, armed forces, homeless and individuals in long-stay institutions will also be able to participate.
How will the screening programme be run?
All men and women aged between 50 and 74 will receive a Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBt) kit by post to their home address. The kit is completed at home and returned to the national Bowel Screening Centre for Scotland, which is based in Dundee at King’s Cross Hospital.
The centre tests all the completed screening kits and then notifies:
- all participants of their results
- all GP practices of positive FOBt results
- all NHS Boards of positive results requiring further investigations.
If the overall result of screening is positive, then the individual will be referred to their local hospital for further assessment and may be offered a colonoscopy , if appropriate.
Please see www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk for more information