Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, affecting over 42,000 people every year. Despite its prevalence, there is still a lack of awareness about the disease, with many people failing to recognize the signs or taking action when they do.
Stephen, from Bedfordshire, received a bowel screening kit through the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, but he did not complete it straight away. But after seeing some adverts and recognising some of the symptoms in himself, he decided to give it a go.
To his surprise, the results of the screening indicated that he might have cancer. He was booked in for a colonoscopy at Bedford Hospital, and the colonoscopy confirmed that Stephen had cancer. He underwent surgery in January 2023.
Thanks to the bowel screening kit, the cancer was caught early and had not spread, allowing for successful treatment.
Stephen credits the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and the excellent care he received from his healthcare team for his positive outcome.
Stephen said: “Everything has happened so smoothly and I am just so grateful that this has been picked up early. If I had not done the bowel cancer screening test, it could have been a very different story for me. The cancer hasn’t spread and I’ve got a great team looking after me.”
Stephen’s story demonstrates the importance of taking action and completing bowel screening tests when they are offered. Early detection is crucial in improving survival rates and reducing the need for more extensive treatments. It also highlights the excellent care that is available through the NHS for those who are affected by cancer.
Dr Sridevy Raju, GP Cancer Lead, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said: “We cannot stress enough the importance of completing bowel screening tests when they are offered. Early detection of bowel cancer can make a significant difference to the outcome for patients.
“We urge everyone to take advantage of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and take the test when they’re invited, as it could potentially save your life.”
The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme invites everyone aged 60-74 to complete a screening test every two years. Those over 75 can request a test by contacting their GP. The test is quick, easy, and can be done at home. By taking this simple step, you could potentially save your life.
You can find out more information about the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme on the NHS website.
The NHS in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are urging people to take up the offer of bowel cancer screening if offered.