A CAMPAIGN encouraging people to take a life-saving bowel screening test is being backed by community pharmacies across Angus and Tayside.
Large scale posters will be displayed in the windows of over 1,200 pharmacies across Scotland to help raise awareness of the national campaign and three poster styles will be available for pharmacies to choose from, each telling people about the home-based test.
Because people often use community pharmacies to seek health advice as well as get their prescriptions, information on the screening programme will also be available through a ‘Know the Facts’ leaflet.
All those aged between 50 and 74 years old in Tayside are eligible for screening and will be sent a home-based test kit every two years. The kits are issued, returned to and tested at the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre, based at King’s Cross in Dundee.
The centre, which sends out 5,000 test kits per day across Scotland, also hosts a dedicated telephone helpline for anyone who needs extra assistance.
Nicola Sturgeon, cabinet secretary for Health and Wellbeing, said early detection of bowel cancer can help to avoid more aggressive treatments.
She said: “Bowel cancer is one of Scotland’s most common cancers, accounting for 4,000 cases and 1,600 deaths a year. That’s why ensuring earlier diagnosis of this is a key feature of our Detect Cancer Early Plan.
“By detecting it in its earliest stages, before it has spread, we can help treat patients when their general health is better, potentially help them avoid more aggressive treatment, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy and increase survival rates.
“I would therefore urge all 50 to 74 year-olds to take up this opportunity for free home testing. It takes a few minutes of your time but could save your life.”
Professor Robert Steele, director of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, also said that 95 per cent of cases occur in the over 50s and the screening programme offers an opportunity to identify and treat those at risk.
He said: “The more opportunities we can use to get people to find out more and talk openly about the screening test, the greater the chance we have to save lives.
“Pharmacy advertising is designed to help people to feel less awkward about this subject, seek information and ask questions they may have. Having this advertising at the heart of many communities in Tayside will, I hope, encourage more people here to consider taking the test.
“Lots of information is provided with the test kit when it arrives through the letterbox and information can also be accessed at www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk. This includes a short animated film which explains more about the test and how to complete this.”