Don’t shy away from poo kits

DOCTORS have urged patients to make the most of cancer screening kits, despite their unpleasant nature.

A bowel cancer screening campaign is being run by NHS primary care trusts across the region to encourage more people to screen their excrement when they receive an invitation to do so from the age of 60.

Currently, just over half of those who are sent screening kits every two years use them, but health officials say they can save lives by spotting early signs of cancer, such as traces of blood in samples.

If bowel cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages the chances of surviving for a further five years is 90 per cent and a complete cure is usually possible.

North of England Cancer Network Director of Public Health Dr Nonnie Crawford said: “Some people have told us they feel a bit embarrassed about the test because it involves poo, but screening has proved to be a life-saver and we would like to see as many over-60s as possible using the kits.

“Getting more people to use the test would lead to more early detection of bowel cancer.

“People may well have no symptoms at all in the early stages so screening may give the first indication that something is wrong. Collecting the samples only takes a few minutes.”

The campaign is part of the wider Be Clear On Cancer initiative that aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of the three most common cancers in the UK — breast, bowel and lung.

For more information visit www.beclearoncancer.co.uk