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Bowel cancer screening rolled out in Scotland

30th August 2005

The new home-testing initiative to help tackle bowel cancer will be rolled out across Scotland, health minister Andy Kerr announced today.

Roll-out of the national bowel-screening programme will begin from March 2007 with all NHS Board areas being covered by 2009.

Under the scheme men and women aged between 50 and 74 will be sent home testing kits and screened every two years.

The screening programme aims to reduce mortality by 15 per cent potentially saving over 150 lives a year.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in Scotland. In 2004 there were 1550 deaths in Scotland from the disease.

Announcing the details Mr Kerr said: "Reducing cancer deaths is one of the top health priorities for the Scottish Executive.

"If a cancer is identified early, treatment can be delivered quickly and survival rates improve. That is why screening is so important.

"Following the successful pilot in NHS Tayside, Grampian and Fife I am pleased to announce the national roll out of the programme.

"Testing kits will be posted to 650,000 people in the target age range every year. These tests are completed at home and are then returned for screening. Patients will receive results within two weeks."