Over a third of 60 to 74 year olds across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are failing to attend their potentially life-saving bowel screening.
Every two years home screening kits are sent to those aged between 60 and 74, asking them to provide a sample of their stool that can be assessed for blood that could be a sign of bowel cancer.
Early diagnosis is key to survival, with nine out of ten people being treated successfully when bowel cancer is found in its earliest stage.
In North Somerset and South Gloucestershire 58% of those aged between 60 and 74 take their screening within six months of being sent an invitation. In Bristol the case is much worse, with just 51% completing their screening.
"Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer. But it shouldn’t be as it is both treatable and curable, especially if it is diagnosed early. However, thousands of people in our area are missing the chance of early detection of their bowel cancer as they are failing to do their screening. We are aware it isn’t the most pleasant test to complete, but it really can save your life."
- Dr Glenda Beard, CCG clinical lead for cancer
According to Bowel Cancer UK over 41,000 people are diagnosed every year with bowel cancer, but the number of people dying from disease has been falling since the 1970s due to earlier diagnosis and better treatment.
Bowel cancer symptoms include:
- Bleeding from your back passage and/or blood in your stool
- 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 stomach.
If you have one or more you should speak to your GP.