As April marks Bowel Cancer Awareness Month Nick Thomas-Symonds MP for Torfaen, is supporting a call by leading research charity Bowel Cancer UK, urging more people in to take part in bowel cancer screening and help save lives.

Bowel cancer screening can save lives but in Tofaen only 52% of people who are eligible actually take part in screening. This is well below the 60% target set by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, affecting both men and women. Every year over 41,000 people (one every 15 minutes) are diagnosed with bowel cancer and 16,200 people die of the disease. The local Public Health team are currently working in collaboration with the Screening Division to scope a pilot project in primary care that aims to increase uptake in Torfaen.

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP said, “As the local MP, I am totally committed to improving uptake rates for bowel cancer screening, both locally and nationally.”

Mr. Thomas-Symonds said, “I would urge my constituents who are sent a bowel screening test to use it. Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early. If you are over 60, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to take the test. Early diagnosis really can save lives.”

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “I’d like to thank Nick for supporting our campaign during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to raise participation levels for bowel cancer screening.
One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.”

The Bowel Screening Wales programme (and its equivalent in each of the home nations) can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. Since its launch, it has been proven to save lives. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Visit Bowel Cancer UK’s website to find out how you can get involved in their campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, bowelcanceruk.org.uk.

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