Cumbrian bowel cancer screening response lower than hoped

Image source, NHS North Cumbria CCG
Image caption,
Cumbria and North Lancashire health bosses are encouraging people to get tested

The uptake of bowel cancer screening among men in Cumbria is only just over half what it could be, health bosses are warning.

A campaign to encourage people over 60 to get tested has been launched.

Of 24,589 free test kits sent to men last year only 14,727 were returned.

Dr Colin Brown, clinical director of the screening centre covering Cumbria and North Lancashire, said he would "strongly advise anyone receiving the screening invitation to do the test".

The centre had detected 528 bowel cancers - half at an early stage - out of 6,400 tests, he said.

'Treatable and curable'

Men especially may find the subject embarrassing, the NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said.

Nationally, the uptake among females was about 5.5% higher than male, it said.

Cumbria County Council's director of public health Colin Cox said the disease was "treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early".

But survival "drops significantly as the disease develops", he said.

Free kits are sent to men and women between 60 and 74 with instructions for taking the test at home.

Latest figures show the total uptake in Cumbria and North Lancashire was 61.72%, compared with 57.32% nationally.

Preliminary figures for the last financial year suggested this figure was dropping, the CCG said.

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