NEARLY one million more bowel cancer tests are set to be dished out on the NHS.
More than 900,000 people in London will receive a free FIT kit — championed by The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign, which was spearheaded by Dame Deborah James — in the post.
Dr Chris Streather, medical director at NHS London, said: “Screening — which you can do in private at home — is one of the best ways to diagnose bowel cancer early, or in some cases prevent it from developing in the first place.
“We need more people in London to do the test and return their kits; and stop cancer in its tracks.
“As one of the most common cancers in the UK, it is vital that more people in London complete and return their bowel cancer screening kits.
“If you’re sent the kit, join the millions completing theirs this year.”
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Bowel cancer is the UK’s second deadliest cancer, claiming 16,500 lives each year.
However, nearly everyone survives it if diagnosed at the earliest stage, according to Bowel Cancer UK.
Medics spot around 43,000 new cases in the UK every year, with around 268,000 Brits living with the disease today.
Symptoms include bleeding from the back passage or changes in your normal bowel habits, such as looser poo, pooing more often or constipation.
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The Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kits help spot the disease by looking for tiny amounts of blood in your poo.
They correctly identify about 9 out of 10 people with the disease.
All Londoners aged 56 to 74 will be sent a kit automatically every two years if they are registered with a GP, NHS London said.
Nationally, the tests are sent to everyone aged 60 to 74 but the programme is being expanded to all over 50s over the next four years as well, following the Sun’s campaign.
In July, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence also issued new guidance to send tests to everyone with symptoms of the disease.
The move will help reduce colonoscopy waiting times because symptomatic people will no longer have to be referred immediately for a procedure.
What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?
Symptoms of bowel cancer may include:
- changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
- needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
- blood in your poo, which may look red or black
- bleeding from your bottom
- often feeling like you need to poo, even if you've just been to the toilet
- tummy pain
- losing weight without trying
- feeling very tired for no reason
Source: The NHS
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