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Over 60s urged to screen against bowel cancer

As more people live longer in Nottinghamshire, we ‘re urging people over 60 not to put their health at risk by opting out of bowel cancer screening.

The call comes as NHS England launched new independent taskforce to develop a five-year action plan for cancer services that will improve survival rates and save thousands of lives.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK. The incidence of bowel cancer in Nottinghamshire is higher than the national average (53.2 per 100,000 compared with the national average of 46.5 per 100,000)*

Dr Paul Oliver, GP and clinical lead for NHS Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group said: “People over 60 are most at risk, so it is so important that they accept their invitation to the screening process when it arrives on their door mat. It could save their lives.”

Bowel cancer occurs when the cells in the bowel multiply and attack the surrounding tissue – which can then spread to the other parts of the body. It is also called colon cancer.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can be:

  • bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • a change in bowel habit for three weeks or more especially to looser or runny poo
  • unexplained weight loss
  • extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • a pain or lump in your tummy.

Patients might experience one, some, all of the above or no symptoms at all. Most symptoms will not be bowel cancer. People who are worried about any symptoms that might be caused by bowel cancer, should make an appointment with their GP.

Patients aged 60 to 74 will automatically be sent an invitation and a screening kit to do the test at home. The testing kit is a very simple way to collect small samples on a special card at home. There are clear instructions sent with the kit. People then send the card in a hygienically sealed, prepaid envelope to a laboratory for testing. They will be sent the results of the test by post within two weeks.

You can find out more about bowel cancer at NHS choices

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