Do the bowel screening test – ‘it saved my life’

Joan Burke, inset, says she wouldnt be living if she didnt take the test
Joan Burke, inset, says she wouldnt be living if she didnt take the test

A Camelon grandmother is urging people of a certain age to join the ‘bowel movement’ which she believes saved her life.

People aged between 50 and 74 are offered a screening test to catch bowel cancer, but a large number of the at-risk group do not return their samples.

Bowel cancer is more common in those aged 50 and over, but nine out of 10 people survive it if it’s caught early, just like 72-year-old Joan Burke whose cancer was detected from a test in 2014.

Joan, who has three grandchildren, said: “God willing I am perfectly well for now, but it was caught early and I underwent chemotherapy. I would advise people to be more aware of this and catch it early. Please do the test because I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.

“It’s your body you’re dealing with, not someone else’s. It’s not the nicest thing to do but the test takes two minutes to do, it’s no big deal.”

Every year more than 500,000 people do the life-saving bowel screening test in Scotland and new figures show around half of those aged between 50-51 in Scotland completed and returned theirs in 2016. It remains the most effective way of finding the disease early.

Joseph Crozier, vonsultant colorectal surgeon at NHS Forth Valley, said: “A lot of people are unaware that the early signs of bowel cancer can be hidden and taking the bowel screening test gives the best chance of detecting cancer early.

“When detected at an early stage bowel cancer it’s highly treatable and curable.”

“I would urge all men and women, between 50 and 74, particularly those getting the test for the first time, to do their screening test when it comes through their door.”

The ‘Join the Bowel Movement’ campaign, which first launched in 2015, is being featured across digital media and radio throughout August in a bid to further boost participation in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme.

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, said: “Completing the bowel screening test could save your life.

“The early symptoms of bowel cancer can be hard to spot, but this screening programme can detect the early stages even before symptoms develop. I’d urge all 50 to 51-year- olds to do it.”

For more information on the bowel screening test, visit getcheckedearly.org or call the Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline on 0800 0121 833.

FACTFILE

• Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland.

• The bowel screening test is the best way to find bowel cancer early.

• All men and women aged 50-74 are invited for bowel screening every two years in Scotland.

• Anyone aged 75 or over can still take a bowel screening test every two years if they want to – they simply need to request a kit.

• The test can be completed in the privacy of your own home, is free and could save your life.

See also, www.theweec.org