CANCER RESEARCH UK RESPONDS TO NEWS THAT BOWEL SCREENING WILL BEGIN AT 50 INSTEAD OF 60

Today (Friday) the Department of Health & Social Care and Public Health England announced that they will be lowering the age at which people are first invited for bowel screening from 60 to 50.

Sara Hiom, Director of Early Diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said: “We’re delighted that the Government has committed to lowering the age that bowel screening can start from 60 to 50. This will mean more cancers can be spotted earlier, saving lives. When bowel cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, 9 in 10 people survive but when it is detected in the late stages, survival falls to 1 in 10. In England 3,800 people in their 50s are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, so this decision will undoubtedly reduce deaths from a cancer that affects so many.

“The biggest challenge facing the Government’s plan to start screening at 50 will be finding enough staff to carry out the diagnostic tests, such as colonoscopies, that will be needed as more people are referred following screening. Right now, more than 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic posts are unfilled and thousands more staff will be needed in the future. The staffing crisis must be dealt with urgently through a fully-funded, long-term commitment in the NHS’s new plan.”

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