Protect yourself against bowel cancer during Cancer Prevention Week

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. Every year 3,500 people are diagnosed with the disease and 1,600 people die from it.

As of 1st May this year, men and women aged 50 to 74 are being sent a bowel cancer testing kit to aid early detection of one of Scotland’s biggest killer cancers.

The testing kit is simple and easy to use and there is also a helpline and website providing advice, information and assistance.

Cancer Prevention Week is organised by the World Cancer Research Fund and runs from 12-16th May.

The Lothian bowel cancer screening programme is part of a national scheme being introduced across Scotland over the next two years.

Bowel screening prevents deaths from bowel cancer by finding and treating it early.

Jim Miller, 53, from Edinburgh, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2006, and underwent major surgery to remove the tumour. He then received an intensive six months of chemotherapy before being given the all clear in March 2007.

Jim, who works as an Environmental Planning Consultant, believes early detection is crucial in fighting against cancer.

He said:


“If the bowel screening programme had been in operation two years ago, I could have been diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier, had my operation earlier, and might have avoided the need for an arduous six months of backup chemotherapy.
“I fully appreciate that I am extremely fortunate to have presented early and had successful surgery and chemo, and that the nurses also have to deal with the unfortunate patients whose prognosis is bleak.
“Screening can lead to early detection, and as demonstrated in my story, it can be very treatable and survivable.
”Dr Dermot Gorman, consultant in public health medicine, NHS Lothian, said:


“Screening saves lives as it can detect bowel cancer at very early stages, even before any symptoms begin to occur. The test is easy to do, it comes with step by step instructions, and it could save your life.
 “Bowel cancer is more common in men than women, so it is particularly important that men realise the importance of using the testing kits.“Simple steps can also be taken to reduce the risk of cancer by stopping smoking, drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and by doing regular exercise.”