Nearly half of 60 to 69 year olds in Bristol fail to take their bowel cancer screening tests meaning opportunities for an early diagnosis are missed.
Friday 1 April marks the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, and Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to complete their home screening test.
Every two years home screening kits are sent to people aged between 60 and 74. The screening tests for blood in the stool that can be a sign of bowel cancer, or of a non-cancerous growth that could become cancerous in the future.
"Bowel cancer is both treatable and curable, especially if it is diagnosed early. By taking the free screening test the chances of an early diagnosis are greatly increased. Thousands of people are missing out on a crucial opportunity that could pick up bowel cancer in its earliest form potentially saving their life."
- Dr Glenda Beard, Cancer Lead for Bristol CCG
According to Bowel Cancer UK more than 41,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, with around 16,000 dying from the disease, making it the UK's second biggest cancer killer after lung cancer.
Bowel cancer symptoms include:
- Bleeding from your back passage and/or blood in your poo.
- A change in bowel habits lasting three weeks or more.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.
- A pain or lump in your tummy.
All of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, however if you have one or more of these go to see your GP.
For more information about the screening programme call the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.