A six strong team of cancer survivors are hitting local streets to pass on a vital, life-saving message – get yourself screened.
The area’s first ever group of Bowel Cancer Champions has been trained by clinical specialists from NHS Lanarkshire to highlight the benefits of screening and explain to those eligible, how to take the test.
The group of dedicated men and women are handing out leaflets to local people at public events and locations over the next few weeks.
Just over half (54.5 per cent) of those who are eligible to participate in the biannual Scottish Bowel Screening Programme actually take the test, yet nine out of ten people survive the disease if it’s detected early.
With the uptake of bowel screening in Lanarkshire just 47.7 per cent, the Bowel Cancer Champions will use their knowledge and personal experience of cancer to increase local participation in the screening programme.
Health secretary Alex Neil said: “Many people are unaware that the early signs of bowel cancer can be hidden and that participating in the bowel screening programme gives the best chance of detecting it early.
“There is nobody better placed to share this important message than those who have gone through the process themselves.
“The earlier bowel cancer is detected the easier it is to treat and the better the chance of survival.
“I would also like to thank the champions for giving of their time and sharing of their experiences of bowel cancer to highlight our Detect Cancer Early programme and support more bowel cancer patients and their families.”
Jennifer Darnborough, consultant in public health, NHS Lanarkshire said: “Despite uptake of bowel screening being lower than we would like in Lanarkshire, we still find bowel cancers through screening, with a sizeable proportion being detected at the earliest stage.
“The bowel screening champions will be helping us to get the message across to people that if you get an invitation for bowel cancer screening, please act on it.”
To find out more about the screening programme you can contact the Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline on 0800 0121 833 or visit its dedicated website at www.bowelscreeningtest.org