More men taking part in bowel screening programme
First annual statistics show success of new home test.
The number of men being tested for bowel cancer is at its highest ever level in Scotland.
In November 2017 Scotland became the first part of the UK to introduce a simpler home screening test for bowel cancer.
Statistics for the first full year of the new home test’s use show 61.6% of men returned the test between November 2017 to October 2018 - compared to 52.3% using the old test in the same period the year before.
Importantly, there has also been an increase in testing by those in the most deprived areas - up from 41.7% to 51.7%. Uptake amongst those who had never participated before has also increased significantly from 7.8% to 18.9%.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:
“Since the introduction of the new home test more people than ever before are being screened for bowel cancer.
“It is particularly encouraging to see an increase in participation from groups who tend to have lower uptake, including men and those who live in more deprived communities.
“We know that the earlier a cancer is detected, the greater the chances of successful treatment and often cure. This is why we launched our Detect Cancer Early programme in 2012 backed by a £42 million investment.
"Screening remains the best way to find bowel cancer early and help reduce health inequalities in cancer outcomes.”
Overall the combined number of men and women doing the new, easier bowel screening test increased from 55% to 64%.
The new Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) test requires the collection of just one bowel motion sample. It replaced the Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), which required people to return three samples over a 10-day period.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland has set a standard of 60% for Bowel Screening participation.
In Scotland men and women aged 50 to 74 are invited every two years to take part in bowel screening.
The Scottish Government introduced FIT in November 2017 to replace the FOBT.
£5 million of funding from the Scottish Government’s £100 million Cancer Strategy is being invested in the national cancer screening programmes, including bowel, to encourage those who are eligible to take up their invite. This funding is targeted towards increasing participation in areas of deprivation and other areas where uptake is lowest.