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13 June 2016 08:57
People are urged to get bowel cancer symptoms checked early
A new home testing kit is to be sent out across England to help people identify signs of bowel cancer early.
It is hoped the new Faecal Immonochemical Test will save lives in the long run by tracing hidden blood in people's stool samples.
A trial of the test was initially carried out, with 40,000 people taking part.
Following the success of this pilot, all men and women who are aged between 60 and 74 will now be offered the test every two years.
Commenting on the nationwide launch of the scheme, Dr Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said it should prove more straightforward for people to use.
She said: "This is good news as this new test will make it easier for people to get checked for risk of bowel cancer - as early diagnosis and treatment can save lives."
According to health officials, more than nine in 10 bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated, as long as they are diagnosed at an early stage.
The condition is the second biggest cancer killer in England, meaning the new test has the potential to have a lasting positive effect.
Being told they have bowel cancer should not prevent people from enjoying simple pleasures such as holidays abroad.
In fact, travel insurance is available which is specific to this illness, which can cover the costs of lost medication.
Also commenting on the new test, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said it has the potential to be a "game-changer".
She commented: " Someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer every 15 minutes in the UK and we know early detection is absolutely crucial."
At present, less than two thirds (58%) of people sent testing kits actually use them. But it is hoped the new test will drive this rate upwards, since it is easier to use.
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