Also in March:
31 March 2009
A new set of posters and leaflets have been unveiled today by Cabinet Secretary Nicola Sturgeon in a drive to encourage the public to take part in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme. The launch of the posters comes at the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and aim to inform the public about how they can take action against Scotland's third most commonly diagnosed cancer.
The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, which is currently undergoing a phased national roll-out across the whole of Scotland, invites everyone, aged 50-74 to carry out a simple test, which can be done at home, every two years. The new posters, which feature everyday people, use positive encouragement by speaking directly to the public - "I've done the test, have you?". All men and women in the age range are, or will be, sent a simple home test kit, which can be conducted in the privacy of their own home, without even having to pay a visit to the GP. Participants are invited systematically according to when their birthday falls.
In the last year of its roll out, the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme is up and running in nine NHS Health Board areas, including NHS Grampian which was the one of the first Scottish Board areas to run the screening programme. When the programme is fully rolled out, over 700,000 people a year will be invited to take part.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Most people know that it is important to take care of their health. But even when we feel fit and healthy, there are things we can do to address any underlying health concerns.
"Scotland's new poster campaign is designed to raise awareness of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme. I would urge everyone invited to be screened to take up this offer. It is a simple test to complete at home and send off.
"Bowel Cancer Awareness Month reminds us of this commonly diagnosed cancer and its impact. If there's only one message people hear loud and clear during this month it's to be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer and to contact their GP if they have any concerns."
Prof Bob Steele, Director of the National Bowel Screening Programme said:
"Bowel cancer is a major health problem in Scotland with 3,400 new cases being diagnosed each year. The National Screening Programme is the best available method of discovering the disease at an early stage when it can be cured, and by doing this simple test many lives can be saved. It must be emphasised however, that screening only works if people do the test and we would encourage everyone to take up the offer when it arrives. Bowel cancer screening is the most significant advance in the treatment of bowel cancer for many decades."
Dr Perminder Phull, Clinical Lead for the Bowel Screening Programme in NHS Grampian said: "Our research shows that many people are not aware of bowel cancer and how common it is in Scotland. Our aim is to increase understanding of the disease and normalise routine bowel screening for men and women in the same way as breast screening is commonly undertaken. These new posters show that taking the test is a simple way of looking after your health, and people should be proud that we have a programme which could help save your life."
A patient from Elgin believes the good and positive outcome for her was due to the early diagnosis by the Bowel Screening Unit.
Mary is sixty-nine years old and was diagnosed with bowel cancer five years ago. Following two positive tests, Mary was given an appointment at her local hospital. Further tests at hospital confirmed Mary's diagnosis and after five weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she underwent surgery and now has a colostomy.
Mary says: "There was a history of bowel cancer in my family which made me aware that any changes in toilet routine must be checked.
"One morning there was a certain urgency in going to the loo and strangely on the same day a screening-test arrived by post.
"I had no hesitation in doing the test and was seen and treated very quickly. I have now been given the all-clear and today I am very fit and healthy and kept very busy with various activities.
"I believe the good and positive outcome for me was due to the early diagnosis by the Bowel Screening Unit."
The Scottish Bowel Screening Centre in Dundee runs a Helpline facility for individuals with enquiries about the screening programme and process. For more information about the test or when you will be invited, please phone 0800 0121 833, from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
For more information, please contact:
Leah Dawson, Corporate Communications Officer, NHS Grampian, 01224 554400
Justine Hampton, Communications Manager, NHS Health Scotland, 0131 536 5548
The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme has been developed and implemented through a partnership with the Scottish Government, National Services Scotland, the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre, NHS Health Scotland, and the14 territorial NHS Boards, plus valuable input and help from many other organisations.
For more information about the test or when you will be invited, please phone the free phone number 0800 0121 833, from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
Further information is also available at the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme Website:
The campaign leaflet and posters are available to download in pdf: