Good news as more join in bowel cancer screening

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership HSCP

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Well done everyone in Argyll and Bute – you have raised the number of people taking part in bowel screening.

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is pleased to announce its latest figures which show that during 2018 the number of people who took part in the simple home test went up by 10 per cent.

The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme aims to reduce mortality from bowel cancer by detecting the condition as early as possible.

Men and women aged 50 to 74 years are invited to take part in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme through completing a home screening test every two years.

The screening test aims to detect blood in bowel motions as this may indicate a higher risk of bowel cancer. People with a positive screening test result are offered further investigations.

Alison McGrory, health improvement principal with the Argyll and Bute HSCP, said: ‘Screening for bowel cancer saves lives, and the home test has helped make it easier for people to be tested.

‘This report is really good news in that we’re seeing a significant rise in screening uptake. It is really encouraging because detecting cancer at an early stage means it’s more likely to be successfully treated.’

The test is completed at home with a kit sent to all eligible adults. This involves collecting one sample from a bowel movement.

Individuals who have a positive result are referred to their local hospital for assessment. The screening test helps to identify pre-cancerous signs in men and women who otherwise have no symptoms, meaning abnormalities can be investigated.

Help to beat bowel cancer

Some risk factors are unavoidable, such as age, sex or family history.

Take the test! It is free, and takes only minutes.

As well as doing your bowel screening test you can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer by:

  • eating a healthy diet containing whole grains like wholegrain bread and cereals, beans, pulses and plenty of fruit and vegetables,
  • limiting foods high in sugar or fat, and avoiding sugary drinks,
  • avoiding processed meat like bacon and sausages, and limiting red meat,
  • getting to and keeping to a healthy weight – avoid gaining weight and try losing weight if overweight,
  • being more active in everyday life, this includes walking more and sitting less,
  • drinking less alcohol – not drinking alcohol is better for cancer prevention,
  • stopping smoking,
  • telling your GP if you have any worries about your bowel habits.

People can also visit the NHS Inform website at for further trusted information about bowel cancer signs, causes, treatment and prevention.

If you have any questions about the home bowel screening test contact the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre by phoning 0800 0121 833 / textphone 18001. This service is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, or by emailing

The helpline is free and confidential. If there is nobody available to take your call, please leave a voicemail message, and a member of staff will return your call.