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Bowel cancer home test kits for over 60s

2nd August 2005

People in their 60s will soon receive a home testing kit for bowel cancer from the government.

The kits will be sent out under a new bowel cancer screening programme for England, where people aged 60-69 will be asked to home test every two years.

The government said the test would help identify those people who may have the disease and who are reluctant to talk about the symptoms.

People will collect and send stool samples away to a laboratory where they will be analysed for traces of blood.

The government has setup five laboratory centres around the country that will analyse the samples.

The first year of the programme, which will begin from April next year, is expected to cover around 25 per cent of England or 300,000 people.

Within four years, around two million people should receive the home-test annually.

When launching the initiative Health minister Rosie Winterton said: "Although bowel cancer affects more than one in 20 people in their lifetime, of those who get the disease 90 per cent survive if it is caught early.

"Because of the nature of the disease, people can feel uncomfortable talking about it, let alone coping with the symptoms.

"That is why the privacy and dignity that the home testing kits afford will help us better tackle the disease."