Tens of thousands 'missing out' on bowel cancer test in Wiltshire

Tens of thousands 'missing out' on bowel cancer test in Wiltshire

Published by Mike Draper at 5:41am 3rd February 2020.

3 minute read

Over a third of those eligible to be screened have NOT had the potentially life-saving check.

The charity Bowel Cancer UK says more needs to be done to encourage people to have the test, which helps to catch the deadly disease earlier and when it's more treatable.

Public Health England figures show in the two-and-a-half years to March 2019

  • 65.7% of the 90,434-strong population of 60-74 year olds registered with a GP in the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group area were screened for bowel cancer
  • That's one of the highest rates in the country, where the average coverage was 60.5%
  • But that still means 31,046 people were not covered


People aged between 60 and 74 in England are sent a home test for bowel cancer every two years.

Participants send faeces samples off for testing, to look for traces of blood.

Around 2% of people will have an abnormal result, at which point they will be offered a colonoscopy - an examination of the rectum and large intestine - to check for bowel cancer.

Dr Lisa Wilde, director of research and external affairs at Bowel Cancer UK, said:

"It is disappointing that uptake for bowel cancer screening still remains low in England. Taking part in screening is the best way to diagnose the disease early as it can detect the cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat. Quite simply, taking part in bowel cancer screening could save your life and we would encourage anyone to complete the test when they receive it."


In Wiltshire the proportion of people taking in the screening has risen slightly from 60.1% in 2014-15.

A newer, easier, version of the home test been a "game-changer".

An NHS spokeswoman said:

"The NHS has already introduced a new and more accurate way to test for bowel cancer that will catch 1,500 more cancers a year at an earlier stage and will save thousands of lives. This will be complemented by other improvements, such as widening screening to include those aged 50 and over."

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