NHS Swindon is working with Great Western Hospital to save lives from the third most common form of cancer by launching the bowel screening project in the town.
Each year, an average of 104 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the town, leading to 43 deaths. The new screening programme aims to provide early detection for bowel cancer so the disease can be quickly treated which improves chances of survival.
Cancer has overtaken heart disease, to become the leading reason people die prematurely in the town. Therefore we are working hard to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancers and offer screening for certain types.
Bowel cancer is also known as colon, rectal or colorectal cancer. It is more commonly contracted by men and the risk increases significantly with age. Therefore the screening will initially be offered every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69. People over 70 can request a screening kit.
NHS Swindon cancer screening lead, Frances Mayes said: ‘Bowel screening is the most effective screening programme and can reduce deaths from the disease by 16 per cent. If you are in the selected age range, you will receive a test thorough the post which can be done at home. If bowel cancer is detected at an early stage, there is over a 90 per cent chance of survival which is why it makes sense to offer the screening.
‘We have worked hard with GWH to ensure that we have an excellent, high quality service. The new endoscopy unit is fully accredited and there is a team headed up by a specialist consultant endoscopist and specialist screening practitioners.’
Dr Manish Hegde, Consultant Gastroenterologist and lead for Bowel Cancer Screening at Great Western Hospital said: ‘I am pleased we are able to offer local people screening for such an important area of health. Through this programme we will be able to pick up the early signs of bowel cancer and improve the chance of successfully fighting the disease.’