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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Worry at bowel cancer test delay
Bowel cancer scans
Bowel cancer kills around 18,000 each year in the UK
An AM has accused the Welsh Assembly Government of lagging behind England in introducing bowel cancer screening.

Conservative AM Glyn Davies, a cancer survivor, claimed nothing had happened despite a "first class service" being promised for people in Wales in 2004.

In England, a scheme based on home test kits will be made available to everyone in their 60s but this is not the case in Wales.

The assembly government says it is looking at a possible framework.

Bowel cancer kills 50 people a day in the UK, more than 18,000 a year. Lung cancer is the only form of the disease which kills more people.

Mr Davies, 60, said: "As early diagnosis is so key to recovery, the programme will save many lives in England. It is deeply disappointing that there is no similar screening programme planned for Wales".

Glyn Davies AM
Mr Davies survived rectal cancer in 2002

Home testing kits will be sent to people in England in their 60s, the UK government announced last week.

By 2009, people aged 60-69 will be asked to self-test every two years.

Mr Davies added that the assembly government promised to introduce what it described as a "first class service" for bowel cancer patients in Wales.

"While a screening programme is steaming ahead in England, the latest comment from the assembly government is that 'initial consideration by officials' is taking place prior to a period of consultation", said the Mid and West Wales AM, who was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2002.

"There is no sense of urgency and Wales is being left behind England again.

"Bowel cancer does not recognise national boundaries - it kills people just the same in Wales as in England".

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Assembly Government said the Cancer Services Coordinating Group had recently submitted its draft bowel cancer framework for consideration.


"This draft framework contains advice on all aspects of bowel cancer, including prevention, symptom awareness, screening, diagnosis and treatment", she said.

"After initial consideration by officials it will be issued for consultation to the NHS".

The spokeswoman said decisions taken to screen for bowel cancer in Wales would be taken in the light of recommendations from the National Screening Committee.

See how the bowel cancer testing kit works

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