April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Kirklees Council would like to highlight the importance of taking up the bowel screening offer when invited.

If you have received a bowel screening kit in the post, please complete and return it. It could save your life.

Kirklees has seen an increase in bowel screening with some areas having an uptake of over 70%, which is higher than the national average.

In 2018 it was recommended that the screening offer should be extended to people aged 50-74, from the previous group of people aged 60-74 year olds.

The West Yorkshire bowel screening programme is gradually extending the programme to residents in this age group, and if you are part of the extended age group, you will receive your letter when it’s time for you to be invited.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Yet the latest data shows that almost one third of people who were sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit last year did not return it.

Early diagnosis is vital, as detecting bowel cancer at an early stage means you are NINE times more likely to be treated successfully.

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Kirklees Council’s director of public health, said: “The bowel screening programme is helping to save lives in Kirklees.

“The screening can detect bowel cancer early, before symptoms develop, and this is when treatment is more likely to be successful. That is why I’m encouraging anyone who is eligible for the screening to take up the offer when they receive their letter.”

What do you need to look out for?

If you have one or more of these symptoms, or something just doesn’t seem right, don’t wait for screening and don’t be embarrassed, contact your GP. GPs are used to dealing with these kinds of problems all the time. Symptoms can be:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

For more information and instructions on how to use the kit visit: Bowel cancer screening – NHS (www.nhs.uk)