Eastern Cheshire tops charts for bowel cancer screening

nhs_logoEastern Cheshire has the highest take up in Cheshire and Merseyside of bowel cancer screening by people aged 60 to 74.

Figures published by Public Health England for 2015-16 show that more than 61 per cent of people in the age group attended their screening appointment within six months of being invited.

The statistic puts NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Group (CCG) top of 12 CCGs in the sub-region.
Dr Paul Bowen, CCG clinical chair and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton said: “This is really good news as more than 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.”

Every two years, people aged 60 to 74 are invited to carry out a faecal occult blood (FOB) test. If they accept the invitation, they are sent a home test kit with which to collect a tiny stool sample on a special card. The card is then sealed in a hygienic freepost envelope and sent to a screening laboratory.

The sample is then checked for traces of blood that may not be visible to the naked eye but could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Results are received within two weeks of sending in the kit, and there are three types of result:
• Most people will have a normal result – no further tests are needed and another invitation will be sent in two years’ time
• A few people will have an unclear result – in which case they will be asked to repeat the test up to twice more
• A few people will have an abnormal result – and will be offered an appointment to discuss colonoscopy at a local screening centre. Most people who have a colonoscopy will not have cancer.
People aged 75 or over can request the test by calling freephone 0800 707 60 60. People younger than 60 are not eligible for the FOB test but can have bowel scope screening. People worried about their bowel health or who have a family history of bowel cancer should speak to their GP.

Bowel scope screening is done by a specially-trained nurse or doctor in an NHS bowel cancer screening centre. The doctor or nurse will put a thin, flexible tube inside the patient’s bottom to look inside the lower part of the bowel and remove any small growths, called polyps, that could eventually turn into cancer.

Bowel scope screening results will be received within two weeks of the appointment. Most people will have a normal result while some people will have polyps, which may mean having a colonoscopy. Rarely, the test will find cancer.

One hundred and ten people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every day in England but more than 90 per cent of cases can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.