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Tens of thousands more screened for bowel cancer across Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

More people than ever before are taking up the chance of potentially life-saving bowel screening in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, according to latest figures.

In 2017-19, over 200,000 people took the bowel screening offer compared to 2015-17 when about 170,000 completed the test.

The increase in uptake is largely due to testing being made more accessible, with the introduction of a new home-test kit in 2017.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland for both men and women. Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage when treatment is more effective. In some cases, as a result of screening, pre-cancerous polyps can be removed and cancer prevented.

The one-step faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits replaced the previous three-step process.

People between the age of 50 and 74 are offered screening, with tests sent to people’s homes every two years in order to prevent or identify bowel cancer.

Uptake is lower in some groups - people in their 50s, men of all ages, people in socio-economically deprived areas, those with learning disabilities and amongst ethnic minorities.

There has been an increase in uptake across all Health and Social Care Partnerships since the use of the new test in 2017. However there is variation between the areas, with the lowest uptake of 50% of those eligible being screened in Glasgow North East Sector, and the highest in East Dunbartonshire where 67% are screened.

The new figures come from NHSGGC’s annual public health screening report that includes all screening programmes from April 2018 to March 2019.

Dr Emilia Crighton, Deputy Director of Public Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:  

“We’re now seeing the success of the easier test kits for bowel cancer, two years on from their introduction, with larger number of people returning the test. This means we’re able to detect and prevent more cancers as early as possible.

“But we still aren’t reaching everyone particularly men and people turning 50 who receive their first test kit. I would encourage everyone to do the test once it arrives through the post – it can save their life.”

The report also highlighted the success of other screening programmes available to prevent disease including cervical screening, pregnancy and newborn screening and vision testing for children.

The above image was reproduced with kind permission from The Bowel Screening Test: What you need to know © NHS Health Scotland 2019

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Last Updated: 11 November 2021