Community pharmacies across Greater Glasgow and Clyde have joined the campaign to encourage people to consider taking the life saving bowel screening test.
Between August 25th and October 2nd local pharmacies in Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be display large scale posters in their windows to help raise awareness. The posters each tell people about the home-based test bowel screening test, featuring people asking ’We’ve done the test. Have you?’
All those aged 50-74 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are eligible for screening and will be sent a home-based test kit through their letterbox every two years.
As people often use community pharmacies to seek health advice as well as get their prescriptions, information on the screening programme will also be available through a ‘Know the Facts’ leaflet.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Bowel cancer is one of Scotland’s most common cancers, accounting for 4000 cases and 1600 deaths a year. That’s why ensuring earlier diagnosis of this is a key feature of our Detect Cancer Early Plan.
“By detecting it in its earliest stages, before it has spread, we can help treat patients when their general health is better, potentially help them avoid more aggressive treatment, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy and increase survival rates.
“I would therefore urge all 50 to 74 year-olds to take up this opportunity for free home testing. It takes a few minutes of your time but could save your life.”
Professor Robert Steele, Director of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme said: “95% of all cases of bowel cancer occur in those over 50, and the screening programme offers a real opportunity to identify and treat those at risk.
“The more opportunities we can use to get people to find out more and talk openly about the screening test, the greater the chance we have to save lives.
“Pharmacy advertising is designed to help people to feel less awkward about this subject, seek information and ask questions they may have. Having this advertising at the heart of many communities in Greater Glasgow and Clyde will, I hope, encourage more people here to consider taking the test.
“Lots of information is provided with the test kit when it arrives through the letterbox and information can also be accessed whenever and wherever it is convenient at www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk. This includes a short animated film which explains more about the test and how to complete this.
“If you receive the test, please take it. It could just save your life.”
Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Director of Public Health Medicine, says not everyone realises how important screening can be.
She said: “Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and affects both men and women alike and as we get older the risk increases with nine out of 10 cases in people over 50. However, when detected early it can be treated effectively and many people can be cured.
“Within Greater Glasgow and Clyde there are approximately 750 – 830 new bowel cancer cases each year and approximately 350 – 400 deaths. It is essential that people use the kits and not be embarrassed or afraid to send us samples. The vast majority of results are perfectly normal. For the minority of people who do have positive results screening will mean early detection, quicker treatment and a greater chance of a cure.”
Notes to editors
1. Scotland has a higher incidence rate of bowel cancer than most other countries in the Western world:
• it is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women;
• the second most common cause of cancer death for men
• the third most common cause of cancer death for women;
• around 1,600 people die of the disease in Scotland each year;
• Almost 4,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in Scotland;
• 95% of cases occur in people aged over 50 years, and;
• the five year survival rate is approximately 55% for both men and women.
2. More information as well as the ‘Know the Facts’ leaflet can be found at www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk
3. For those eligible for the programme, Bowel Screening Centre Helpline staff are available on 0800 0121 833 to answer specific questions. If no one is available to take a particular enquiry, a voicemail can be left and a member of staff will return the call. Every call is dealt with in strict confidence
For more information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected] .