Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 14:09 UK

Screening identifies 25 cancers


Hayley Heard from bowel screening Wales uses a giant inflatable colon to highlight the importance of a healthy bowel while patient Brian Clifton advises people to use home testing kits.

A total of 25 cases have been detected by a bowel cancer screening programme launched in Wales six months ago.

In all, 80,000 home testing kits have been sent out to people aged between 60 and 69, and during the first three months there was a 60% uptake.

Hayley Heard, head of Bowel Screening Wales, said the test was easy to use at home and could save your life.

To highlight the importance of a healthy bowel, a giant inflatable colon is on display in Cardiff.

The NHS programme has been loaned the 11m (36ft) long structure to highlight Bowel Cancer Awareness month and has had to enlist the help of the fire service to inflate it.

"It's sure to make people smile, but it does carry a very serious message, about the importance of a healthy bowel," Ms Heard said.

Regular bowel screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16%
Hayley Heard, Bowel Screening Wales

Initially, all men and women between 60 and 69 are being sent the testing kit, which looks for hidden blood.

It is hoped that by 2015 the programme will be extended to include people between the ages of 50 and 74, who will be sent the kits every two years.

Jennifer Kerr, 62, from Bettws, Newport, was the first cancer case to be detected in Wales by Bowel Screening Wales.

She said: "I'm very pleased that I received the test kit and the cancer was picked up at an early stage. My advice to anybody is to do the test when you receive it - it could save your life."

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Wales, with 2,000 people diagnosed every year.

Around 1,000 people die from bowel cancer each year in Wales, but if picked up early, it is also one of the most treatable.

"Regular bowel screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent," said Ms Heard.

"If bowel cancer is picked up early enough, then it's more likely that the disease can be treated successfully."

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