The Local Primary Care Network (PCN), consisting of St Andrews, Boyatt Wood, Archers and Parkside practices, have highlighted that bowel cancer screening take up and early detection for local residents is lower than in other local areas.
The Council are teaming up with the PCN to increase awareness of symptoms and take up of screening in the Eastleigh town centre and surrounding areas. The campaign will run over April, bowel cancer awareness month, and will primarily focus on ages 60-74 who are invited by the NHS to complete the home screening kit.
According to Public Health England data (2019/20) the central Eastleigh area lags behind other areas of the wider NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (West Hants CCG) for bowel cancer screening uptake by an average of 7% for the latest six and 30 month periods. This West Hants CCG area include areas in Winchester, Eastleigh, Andover and New Forest. Low screening uptake can lead to late diagnosis of bowel cancer, which contributes to poorer outcomes.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer for both men and women in the UK and the second most fatal: If diagnosed early, at Stage 1, five year survival rates is 91.7% for 15-99 year olds (2013-2017) and declines to 10.3% at stage 4 (advanced disease). Home screening can increase the number of patients who are diagnosed in the early stage of the disease.
A bowel cancer screening kit, called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT), is sent to all individuals between the ages of 60-74 every two years. It’s completed in the comfort of your own home, returned by post and results are due back in two weeks. This test is meant for people with no symptoms and is one of the best ways of finding bowel cancer early. View this video to learn how to complete it.
The symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP.
The PCN and the Council urge residents to complete and return their home screening tests as soon as possible and don’t hesitate to see your GP if you're noticing symptoms. Start the conversation and ensure your loved ones aged 60-74 don’t ignore their latest invite for screening and are aware of the symptoms - early detection saves lives.
Useful links for more information: