Bowel cancer test for over 60s

ALL men and women between the age of 60-70 years and registered with a GP in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT area are being invited to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

ALL men and women between the age of 60-70 years and registered with a GP in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT area are being invited to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

In June 2009, this screening programme will be extended to cover up to the age of 75 years.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) was one of the first sites in

the country to introduce


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the new national screening programme to help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be effective.

The NNUH team is working in partnership with the James Paget University Hospitals (JPUH), and the screening means approximately one death from bowel cancer per week will be prevented across the Norfolk and Waveney area.

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Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Around 80pc of bowel cancers arise in people who are over 60.

Bowel cancer can be detected early by testing the stool for minute traces of blood. Studies have shown this allows detection of early cancers and so higher cure rates.

The NHS introduced a National Screening programme for Bowel Cancer in 2006. In Norfolk, the lowest uptake rates are in some areas of Great Yarmouth at 36pc.

People with a positive stool test are invited to have an examination of their bowel - a colonoscopy, performed at the NNUH.

To date in Norfolk, 12pc of people with a positive stool test have been found to

have cancer, 50pc have precancerous polyps which have been removed and 33pc have been normal. Cancers detected have been at an earlier stage, leading to higher cure rates.

Dr Bernard Brett, JPUH consultant gastroenterologist, said: “This service brings real benefits to the population of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area. It will save lives from bowel cancer as well as prevent the need for surgery in some individuals. Please take up this opportunity; this is something that could make a huge difference to you, your family and friends.”

Everyone over 60 isbeing encouraged to take the test, which is simple to do and can be done in the privacy of their home.

It involves collecting a small sample from three separate bowel motions and, using a specially designed prepaid envelope, returning the kit to the laboratory for analysis. The test does not diagnose bowel cancer but gives an indication on whether further investigations are required.

A leaflet entitled Bowel Cancer Screening - The Facts will be sent to everyone with their invitation to help them make an informed choice about whether or not to

take up the opportunity of screening.

Freephone helpline - 0800 707 60 60.

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