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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 13:58 GMT
Bowel cancer screening to begin
Falkirk Royal Infirmary
Those who test positive will be referred to hospital in Falkirk
A drive to cut deaths from bowel cancer is due to begin in Forth Valley.

Thousands of adults aged between 50 and 74 who are registered with a GP in the area will be contacted and offered screening for the disease.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK after breast and lung cancer. The Forth Valley initiative is part of a national campaign.

About 3,500 people are diagnosed with the disease each year in Scotland, 95% of whom are over 50 years old.

All those who are eligible for the screening programme will be contacted and testing kits will be sent to their home addresses within the next two years.

The kits can then be returned to the national Bowel Screening Centre for Scotland, which opened at King's Cross Hospital in Dundee earlier this year.

Early detection

The centre will test all completed screening kits and then notify patients of the results within two weeks.

The screening programme aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms.

Those with a positive result will be referred to Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary for further assessment.

Consultant surgeon Wilson Hendry said early screening for the disease was key to cutting death rates.

He said: "There is a 90% chance of treating bowel cancer successfully if the disease is detected early enough through screening.

"The programme has the potential to reduce deaths from bowel cancer by 15% which means that it could prevent 150 deaths from bowel cancer each year in Scotland."

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