Around 41,800 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK each year. It is the 4th most common cancer in the UK. Both men and women can get bowel cancer. Most people are aged 50 or over when they are diagnosed.
The risk of developing bowel cancer depends on many factors, including:
- genetics and family history
- medical conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Lynch syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- diet and lifestyle factors
The chances of recovery are significantly higher if Bowel Cancer is detected at an early stage, therefore the NHS offers bowel screening.
Men and women aged 60-74 are all invited to carry out a faecal occult blood (FOB) test. Every two years, they’re sent a home test kit, which is used to collect a stool sample. If you’re 75 or over and would like to be screened, you can also ask for this test by calling the freephone helpline on 0800 707 60 60.
An additional one-off test called bowel scope screening involves a doctor or nurse using a thin, flexible instrument to look inside the lower part of the bowel. Bowel scope screening is being introduced in England and is offered to men and women at the age of 55.
Taking part in bowel cancer screening reduces your chances of dying from bowel cancer, and removing polyps in bowel scope screening can prevent cancer. However, all screening involves a balance of potential harms, as well as benefits, more information about bowel screening can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-cancer-screening/
For more information on Screening & Immunisations click here.