Finally, the Welsh Government and the Health Service are going to honour their 2008 pledge that Bowel Screening roll out for the 50-74 years age group would be rolled out over 5 years. We have had many excuses from the lack of training colonoscopists to Eluned Morgan’s recent excuse blaming Covid. The Government in the future need to ensure screening and other health initiatives are fully researched and planned for their ability to deliver on time.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan is urging people to use their kit when it arrives in the post.
Almost nine out of ten people survive bowel cancer when it is detected and treated earlier on
Starting from today (Wednesday 4 October), people aged 51-54 who are registered with a GP in Wales will be offered self-screening for bowel cancer, and will automatically receive an easy-to-use, bowel screening kit in the post every two years.
The programme will come into full effect for the newly eligible age group gradually over the next year.
Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Wales. Between 2018-2020 there were nearly 7000 registered cases of bowel cancer, but the survival rate is high.
Completing a home test kit is part of the bowel screening process. In 2019, the Welsh Government introduced a new, easy-to-use, FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) at-home testing kit. With increased sensitivity, the kit can better detect bowel cancer in those who are at risk and has contributed to an improved screening uptake of 65% in the current age cohort of men and women aged 55 to 74.
The move is part of a phased approach to lower the screening age to 50, based on the recommendation of the UK National Screening Committee.