A rundown on bowel cancer screening - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views


Anyone over the age of 50 is familiar with the “gift” sent out by the government every two years – the bowel cancer screening kit. Statistically, we know less than half of the people who receive them actually complete the test, with a return rate of approximately 40%. Yes, it all seems a bit yucky, but these tests can make a huge difference.

The test checks for traces of microscopic blood in stool, which can indicate a bowel cancer or its precursor: polyps. Many people have polyps, and most will be nothing to worry about, but some can transform into bowel cancers. Catching them early can help prevent that process from happening or help detect bowel cancers early before drastic treatments are required.

For most people, completing the bowel cancer screening kit every two years between ages 50 and 74 will be enough to help prevent bowel cancer. The exception is people whose first degree (parents, siblings) or second degree relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles) have been diagnosed with bowel cancer. If this is you, your recommended screening process will be different and may need to start before age 50. No matter your age, if you have a relative with bowel cancer, you will need a conversation with your GP to decide the next best step. Similarly, if you have any concerns about symptoms such as a new change in bowel habits, bleeding, abdominal pain or weight loss, please discuss these with your doctor as soon as possible.

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