April is Bowel Screening Month, a crucial time to shine a spotlight on the importance of early detection in battling bowel cancer.

Frank Hinson, Consultant Endoscopist at the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said “Bowel cancer often presents without symptoms in its early stages, making screening vital for early detection. Screening tests like colonoscopies and F.I.T. (Faecal Immunochemical Test) can identify abnormalities before symptoms develop, drastically improving treatment outcomes.

“Bowel cancer can affect people at all ages, but becomes more common as we get older.  Nine out of ten people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over the age of sixty.

“Free bowel cancer home screening kits are available to everyone aged 60 to 74 years and from 2025 it will be available for everyone over 50.

“To spread awareness and engage the public we've worked with Kendal College to create a video promoting the screening programme and encouraging people to take up the offer.”

Drew Blacow, a student at Kendal College and aspiring film maker created the video to help raise awareness. Drew said: “I was more than happy to take it on and help. Cancer is a topic very close to my heart after losing a family member to it when I was young, so being able to help raise awareness is an honour.”

Frank added: “Bowel cancer develops from polyps (tiny bumps of cells inside the bowel). Most polyps remain benign (not cancerous), Between 2-11% will turn to cancer. If it is caught in the early stages, there is a greater than 90% chance of a cure.

“Alongside screening, adopting a healthy lifestyle can also lower the risk of bowel cancer. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.”

The video that was developed with Kendal college students is available on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/0pL_kHjoIbE

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