People in Bradford urged to use their bowel screening test kit as figures reveal 45% are not
Research from Public Health England (PHE)i has revealed that on averageii more than two in five (45%) people aged 60-69iii in Bradford are not using and returning their faecal occult blood (FOB) test kit when they are sent it.
As part of the NHS Bowel Screening Programme all men and women aged 60-74 are invited to carry out a FOB test. Every two years, they're sent the test kit in the post and it’s used to collect a stool sample. The sample should then be sent via freepost to a laboratory, where it is checked for traces of blood that may not be visible to the naked eye but could be an early sign of bowel cancer. The test results are then ready two weeks later.
Bowel cancer is the UK's second biggest cancer killer – there are around 41,000 new cases each year and every year around 16,000 people die of the disease. As April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, NHS Bradford City and NHS Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging all people aged 60-74 to use and send back their FOB test kit – it could save lives.
Dr Yasmin Khan – Associate Medical Director, NHS England – North (Yorkshire and the Humber) said: “We understand that using a test kit to collect a stool sample can feel like a bit of an embarrassing prospect, but you can do it in five minutes in the privacy and comfort of your own home, and you really can’t put a price on being proactive and preventative about your own health.
“It’s actually estimated that early detection and treatment through bowel screening can reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16%. We want to urge all people who receive a FOB test kit in the post to use the test kit, send it off, get your results, and ensure you stay healthy.”
Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer.
Cancer can sometimes start in the small bowel (small intestine), but small bowel cancer is much rarer than large bowel cancer.
The three main symptoms of bowel cancer are blood in the stools (faeces), changes in bowel habit – such as more frequent, looser stools – and abdominal pain. As almost 9 out of 10 people with bowel cancer are over the age of 60, these symptoms are more important as people get older. They are also more significant when they persist despite simple treatments.
For more information about the NHS Bowel Screening Programme click here.
ii An average number for use of test kits in Bradford has been created as data has been produced for the two Bradford CCG areas. 34.6% of people aged 60-69 are using their test kit in the NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area. 54.6% of people aged 60-69 are using their test kit in the NHS Bradford Districts CCG area.
iii Public Health England currently only has data available for the 60-69 age bracket. This is because the FOB test kit was rolled out to different age groups between 60-74 years of age in different regions of England, and the only comparative data available covers people aged 60-69 who have been sent a test kit.