East Lincolnshire ‘among the lowest uptake’ for free bowel cancer tests

National Health Service
National Health Service

Four in ten people living in Central Midlands ignore the bowel cancer screening test – with East Lincolnshire amongst the worst areas.

On average, only 59% of people living in Central Midlands are taking advantage of a free bowel cancer screening test that has the potential to save lives.

Bowel Cancer UK, the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity, is encouraging people living in the region to take part in the screening programme.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and there is a greater chance of survival.

Uptake rates for bowel cancer screening are low with huge variations across Central Midlands. The bottom five areas that need to see the most improvement are: Leicester City (46%), Luton (50%), Corby (55%), Milton Keynes (55%), and Lincolnshire East (58%).

The top five areas with the highest uptake are: East Leicestershire and Rutland (65%), West Leicestershire (64%), South Lincolnshire (63%), South West Lincolnshire (63%) and East and North Hertfordshire (62%).

If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Almost 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK and more than 16,000 people die from the disease. It’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer. However it shouldn’t be because it is treatable and curable - especially if diagnosed early.

The charity is raising awareness of the importance of bowel cancer screening, as part of their announcement of their new brand following the merger of Beating Bowel Cancer and Bowel Cancer UK in January 2018.

Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive for Bowel Cancer UK, says: “It’s quite simple, bowel cancer screening saves lives.

“I would encourage everyone who’s over 60 to take the test, and for those who are younger to encourage their loved ones over 60 to complete it. It could save yours or your loved ones life.

“Bowel Cancer UK joined with Beating Bowel Cancer to create a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer. We’re determined to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by the disease. Taking part in screening is the best way to get diagnosed early when treatment is more likely to be successful. Early diagnosis really does save lives.”

• Bowel Cancer UK is giving away free wristbands to raise awareness of the charity and the disease. Get your free wristband here: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/free-bowel-cancer-uk-wristband/