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What stops you from posting your poo?
Why should I take part in the bowel cancer screening programme?
Statistics show that disabled people are less likely to take part in the bowel cancer screening programme, yet screening is vital for the prevention and early detection of many forms of cancer.
According to Public Health England, bowel cancer is the 4th biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK, and many of these deaths may have been prevented if the cancer was detected at an early stage.
Also, early stage treatments for bowel cancer can be much less invasive than later stage interventions.
Who can access the screening service, and how does it work?
The screening service is offered to all people registered with a GP who are aged 60-74 years.
A central distribution hub will send out a kit after your 60th birthday, which is completed in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
People aged 75 or over are not automatically sent a kit, but can opt in by calling the hub on 0800 707 60 60.
The test only takes a couple of minutes to complete - all we need is a small sample of poo – the hub will check this for minute traces of blood which can indicate a problem within the bowel long before any physical symptoms become noticeable.
After a normal result the person will be informed, and a new kit will be sent 2 years later up until age 74 is reached.
Of course, should you experience any worrying changes in bowel habit, tummy pain/lumps, or blood in your poo between tests, you should speak to your GP right away.
What if my test result is abnormal?
If the kit result is abnormal, a specialist screen practitioner will call you or your carer or family to discuss what happens next. It is likely that you would be invited to attend hospital for further investigations, usually a colonoscopy.
This procedure is carried out under sedation if chosen, and the findings will be given straight away. In most cases, if a polyp is found we can remove it there and then. The friendly NHS team would be with you every step of the way.
What if I don't find the screening instruction booklet accessible?
There are various different leaflets available, including instructions showing how to use the screening kit in British Sign Language, and easy-read versions of the standard information booklets.
Do you have any questions about the bowel cancer screening service? Is there anything holding you back from taking part in the programme?
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