- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
Swansea East MS welcomes lowering of bowel cancer screening age to 55
Local Member of the Senedd, Mike Hedges MS, has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s announcement that bowel cancer screening will be made available to more people in Swansea East as home testing is expanded to include 55-57 year olds.
The Wales-wide expansion will mean that 172,000 more people across the country will start to receive easy to use kits that test for the early stages of bowel cancer. The move is part of a phased approach to lowering the screening age to 50 by October 2024.
People aged 55, 56 and 57 will start to be invited for screening from Wednesday 5th October and will receive their home testing kits in the post. The programme will be rolled out to the newly eligible age group gradually over the next 12 months.
Welcoming the announcement, Mike Hedges MS said:
“I’m pleased that the next phase of the Welsh Labour Government’s plan to widen access to bowel cancer screening has come into effect. Offering the home test to more people is one of the ways to improve bowel screening.
“This move will help identify more bowel cancer cases early and support improvement in survival rates.
“I also welcome the news that the Welsh Labour Government plans to continue to expand the programme by lowering the age range to 50 over the next few years.
“I urge everyone in Swansea East who receives the invitation and kit to take up the offer as it could save their life.”
The funding is part of a £16 million investment package by the Welsh Labour Government that has supported the introduction of new, easier to use, FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) at home testing kits. The new home testing kits have helped improve screening uptake to 65% and have improved sensitivity to better detect those at risk of bowel cancer.
More than 2,500 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019. Screening plays an important role in detecting cancer earlier and helps to improve cancer outcomes in Wales.
The lowering of the screening age is based on the recommendation by the UK National Screening Committee.
Notes to editors:
Bowel Screening Wales (BSW) has been operating a home screening programme since 2008. The programme was initially made available to people aged 60 to 69 before being expanded to 70 to 74 year olds in 2012. The programme was further expanded to include 58 to 59 year olds in October 2021
More information about bowel cancer and the screening process can be found here: https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/screening/bowel-screening/information-resources-old/about-screening-and-the-test-kit/bsw-information-booklet/