New initiative diagnoses 30 people with cancer

A NEW initiative has resulted in 30 people being diagnosed with bowel cancer, even though they had no obvious symptoms. Between March 2008 and March this year, 36,897 stool testing kits were sent in the post to people aged between 60 and 69, as part of th

A NEW initiative has resulted in 30 people being diagnosed with bowel cancer, even though they had no obvious symptoms.

Between March 2008 and March this year, 36,897 stool testing kits were sent in the post to people aged between 60 and 69, as part of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in East and North Herts.

Of these, 21,478 were sent back and 389 tested positive for blood in the stool sample.

Colonoscopy bowel examinations were performed and 30 patients were found to have cancer.


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Faye Beard, one of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's specialist bowel cancer screening sisters, said: "There are often no symptoms of bowel cancer when it's at such an early stage, which is why the screening test kits are designed to detect early traces of bleeding from a cancer that are invisible to the naked eye.

"The earlier bowel cancer is caught, the easier it is to cure."

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The aim is to invite up to 30,000 people every year to be screened, which means people in East and North Herts who fall within the target age group - 60 to 69 - will have a screening opportunity once every two years.

Faye said: "We understand this can be a delicate subject for many people, but there's nothing to be embarrassed about - if you've seen one bottom you've seen them all!

"When you get your kit, do the test and send it back. If it does turn out to be positive, make sure you at least take up the chance to visit your local clinic and have a chat with us. This could save your life!"

For more information about the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, visit www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/bowel

The helpline number for the programme is 0800 707 60 60.

Bowel cancer facts

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, affecting both men and women

Over 35,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year - that's someone every 15 minutes

Every year, over 16,000 people die from the disease

Research has shown that regular screening reduces the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent

85 per cent of all diagnoses are in people over the age of 60

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