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Local NHS wants people to take part in bowel cancer screening

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To facilitate early diagnosis, a screening kit is sent to people aged 54 to 75, every 2 years, which is being expanded to include people over 50.

The local NHS has said that although uptake for bowel cancer screening is increasing, it is still lower than for other national cancer screening programmes, and across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland the uptake is even lower than the national average.

To coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month during April, the NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) has issued videos, featuring local GPs, to encourage more people to take part in bowel cancer screening.

Richard Robinson, Consultant Gastroenterologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “There is strong evidence that, by completing the screening test, you can reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer very significantly.

“The test can be done in the comfort of your home and only needs a tiny sample of poo to test for signs of possible cancer. The samples are checked for tiny amounts of blood, which are not visible to the naked eye. This can be a sign of cancer, or of polyps which can turn into cancer over time.

“Screening can help prevent bowel cancer or find it at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. Taking part in screening is an individual choice, but it must be a choice that’s equally available and accessible to everyone.”

To facilitate early diagnosis, a screening kit is sent to people aged 54 to 75, every 2 years, and this is being expanded to include people over 50.

Varsha Parmar, Chief Executive Officer of Equality Action, based in Loughborough, said: “We work with people from ethnic minority communities, many of whom are very scared and reluctant to do the bowel cancer screening test. Through using the video and other promotional material, we can encourage people to take the test.

“The video is very clear and highlights the method and the importance of early screening. The different languages make it very relatable for the viewers as they understand the message clearly and can identify with the speaker. We will use this video at our groups and events to encourage more people to do the test”.

The videos can be viewed on YouTube or on the LLR ICB website.

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