Free test can cut bowel cancer deaths by 30pc - Burke

Fine Gael Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke, is reminding people to avail of the free bowel cancer screening service, BowelScreen.

BowelScreen is a free screening programme provided for people aged 60 to 69 every two years, which has saved hundreds of lives. Participants use a simple home test kit. More than 521 cancers were detected during the previous screening in 2015, and three in four of these were found at an early stage, making it a truly lifesaving programme.

The bowel screening test looks for tiny amounts of blood which are not visible to the eye. Bowel screening does not tell if there is bowel cancer, but it might tell that more tests are needed. This covers all types of bowel cancer-which can also be called colon, rectal, or colorectal cancer.

“This year, during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, I want to encourage anyone aged 60 to 69, who has been invited to take part in the programme, to do the test," Deputy Burke said.

“In the previous round in 2015, only 40 per cent of those eligible took the test. We really need to drive home to everyone aged 60 to 69 that they need to take this test."

Some 95 per cent of those surveyed will have a normal home test result and be invited to participate again in two years time. For a small number of people, the test might result in a colonoscopy. In most cases, this procedure may detect and remove pre-cancerous growths, known as polyps or adenomas, in the bowel preventing bowel cancer from developing in many individuals.

To register visit www.bowelscreen.ie or call (1800 ) 454555.

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