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Bowel cancer screening programme

PUBLISHED: 09:39 10 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:01 01 August 2010

PEOPLE aged between 60 and 70 from across Great Yarmouth and Waveney are being urged to be screened for bowel cancer using home test kits.

A leaflet will be sent to everyone in the area with an invitation for screening in a bid to prevent one death every week in the area.

PEOPLE aged between 60 and 70 from across Great Yarmouth and Waveney are being urged to be screened for bowel cancer using home test kits.

A leaflet will be sent to everyone in the area with an invitation for screening in a bid to prevent one death every week in the area.

Everyone within the age range who is registered with a GP in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney primary care trust area can take part in the NHS bowel cancer screening programme. In June it will be extended to 75 years.

And on March 18 screening nurses will be in Halesworth Library from 9am to 3pm to raise awareness and answer questions about the disease.

Bowel cancer can be detected early by testing the stool for minute traces of blood, with early detection leading to higher cure rates.

The home kits allow people to send a small sample to the laboratory for analysis, leading to treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the James Paget University Hospital if required.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, with about 80 per cent of bowel cancers arising in people over 60. However, 90 per cent of people survive if the disease is caught early.

Dr Richard Tighe, N&N consultant gastroenterologist, said the programme was effective in picking up early cancers in people with no symptoms, adding: “We know that many people are often embarrassed to talk about their bowels. This programme means that they can now access screening in the privacy of their own homes. The test kit is simple to complete and I strongly encourage everyone offered the opportunity to participate.”

Uptake is 60 per cent across Norfolk, with lower figures in urban zones, such as in some areas of Great Yarmouth, where uptake is just 36 per cent.

Further support is available from a freephone helpline on 0800 707 6060.

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