Bowel cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in Scotland in both men and women with approximately 4,000 new cases diagnosed each year. After lung cancer, it is the second biggest cancer killer in Scotland with around 1,600 people dying of the disease in Scotland each year.
Statistics show that the likelihood of surviving bowel cancer is 14 times higher if detected at an early stage compared to a Late Stage 1, and the home bowel screening test – offered to people aged 50 to 74 – remains the most effective way of finding the disease early. As you rightly note, the home bowel screening test is already available from age 50 in Scotland. The SNP Scottish Government has also taken steps with its Detect Cancer Early Programme to raise public awareness of the national cancer screening programmes, and also the early signs and symptoms of cancer. This action will hopefully encourage the public to seek help earlier.
Rest assured, that increasing the early detection of cancer is a key health priority for the Scottish Government. At Westminster, my SNP colleagues and I will continue to share Scotland’s experience where it differs from the rest of the UK in terms of policy and will continue to highlight the benefits that we have seen from early screening and detection.
I hope that this is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance in this or any other matter.