A simple home test kit for bowel cancer could save thousands of lives a year, according to Cancer Research UK.
The charity has calculated that there would be up to 20,000 fewer deaths over the next 20 years with a 60 per cent uptake of the test among its target audience.
The kit is being sent to people in their 60s throughout the UK as part of a national screening programme.
The DIY test involves taking a faecal sample to be sent off for testing. If blood is found, the individual is invited for a colonoscopy.
David Phillips was sent a test kit in 2001 as part of the pilot scheme.
When he found blood in his sample, he was asked to have a colonoscopy and cancer was diagnosed.
Following surgery, he is now fully recovered.
He said: "Early diagnosis was the reason I have made such a good recovery.
"Without screening I probably would not have known that I had cancer, but thanks to screening I am here to tell the story."
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of death among UK cancer patients, with around one in 20 people developing the disease during their lifetime.