BOWEL CANCER SCREENING
All men and woman aged between 50 and 74 are invited for bowel screening every 2 years. Unfortunately the uptake of this free service has been low. 1 in 20 of the population over the age of 50 will get bowel cancer at some point in their lives. Screening aims to find bowel cancer at an early age in people with no symptoms. The screening test looks for hidden blood in the bowel motion as this may suggest a higher chance of bowel cancer. If bowel cancer is detected early enough through screening there is a 90% chance of treating the disease successfully. Having a positive test does not mean that you have cancer and could mean that you have a simple non cancerous polyp. If you have a positive test then you will be offered further investigation and treatment. Even if your test result comes back negative it is still important to see your doctor if you have repeated bleeding from your back passage or a change in bowel habit for over 6 weeks.
A lot of people are put off by the thought of handling their poo sample. There are very clear instruction with each kit that is sent to you in the post. Three samples from separate bowel movements need to be taken and do not worry there is no smell from the kit when it is left in the bathroom. I would suggest that you get a pair of disposable gloves. The poo sample has to be taken before it goes into the water. This can be done on a piece of tissue paper or put a paper plate in the toilet. You only need a very small sample of poo to smear on the windows in the kit. Remember not to flush the plate and gloves down the toilet. After sending the kit back to the laboratory you will get a letter about the result. If you require further investigation then this will be organised for you. Please do not be embarrassed by giving your sample.
If you wish further information then you can phone the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme on 0800 0121 833. If you decided not to do the test before and would like to do it now then phone this number.