Bowel cancer screening message will be taken to London

Posted on: 20th May 2011

Originally posted on 22.01.2010

West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, will meet staff responsible for the NHS bowel cancer screening programme at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance on Monday morning to encourage local people to take up the opportunity and to call on the Secretary of State to extend the screening programme to a wider age group.??Mr George has already been taking a leading role in the campaign in Parliament by being a leading sponsor of a Parliamentary ‘motion’ and promoting bowel cancer awareness. He will call upon the Secretary of State to extend the screening programme from the present target group of 60 to 69 years to bring it into line with the NHS in Scotland which screens patients between the ages of 50 and 74 years.??Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer. Of the 100 people diagnosed with bowel cancer every day, almost half will die from the condition. Yet over 90% of cases can be treated successfully if diagnosed early enough. Ensuring that people take part in the NHS bowel cancer screening programme is therefore essential in improving outcomes for bowel cancer patients.??All people aged 60 to 69 in England are invited for screening every two years through the NHS bowel cancer screening programme. Yet, in the St Ives constituency area, only 57% of people have taken part in screening since it was made available. Beating Bowel Cancer is calling for those people eligible to take part in the screening programme, with the goal of screening one million additional people in the UK over the next two years, and ultimately saving 2,000 lives through early diagnosis of bowel cancer.??Mr George will meet the Screening Programme Co-ordinator, Jennifer Nicholas, at the Outpatients Department at West Cornwall Hospital on Monday 25th January 2010 at 11am. Mr George said: “Although it is reassuring that there are increasing numbers of people taking up the invitation to take part in the bowel cancer screening programme, there are still far too many people dying of this curable disease. “If 77% of people in this area took part in the bowel cancer screening, in the next two years 773,583 people will have participated and 1,633 cancers will have been detected.

“The screening programme currently covers just those aged 60 to 69. This will be extended to 75 years before the end of 2010. However, the Department of Health has announced that at the end of the year they will decide whether this should be extended to begin at 50 years of age. This would bring the screening programme in line with that of Scotland and increase the opportunity for early diagnosis for thousands more bowel cancer patients.” Mr George will write to the Secretary of State to urge him to extend the programme, in spite of the financial pressures on public services this year.??Hilary Whitaker, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “We are delighted that Andrew George MP is supporting Beating Bowel Cancer’s call to action on screening. Whilst significant improvements have been made since the start of the programme, we know more lives could be saved if participation in screening increased. That is why Beating Bowel Cancer is calling for policymakers and the NHS to commit to ensuring one million additional people are screened by 2012 and urges the Government to extend the age range for screening in England to those in their fifties so that more people at risk of bowel cancer have the opportunity to be screened for, and beat the disease.”

Andrew George looks understandably a little light-headed…