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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Bowel cancer screening for over 55-year-olds

11th December 2012

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, is to announce a bowel screening pilot run by NHS trusts which could potentially prevent 3,000 deaths annually.


Mr Hunt will confirm that from March next year, bowel screening will be offered to people aged over 55 in West Kent, Wolverhampton, Norwich, Surrey, St Mark's London and South of Tyne NHS trusts.

At present, people aged between 60-69 are given the option of having faecal occult blood tests. 

If blood is detected in the test, then more tests - usually a colonoscopy - are carried out. 

The new pilot screening would involve a small tube and camera being placed in the rectum and lower bowel to investigate any abnormal growths.

Bowel cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in the UK and causes over 16,000 deaths every year. 

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: "We welcome the government's commitment to the introduction of flexible sigmoidoscopy as part of the prime minister's previous pledge which will give patients greater access to diagnostic tests. This is vital if we are to save lives."

"Over 90% of cases of bowel cancer can be treated successfully if caught in the initial stages, so screening is essential to ensure we give patients the best chance of recovery. Bringing in this test has the potential to save thousands of lives through early detection." 


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