Beating bowel cancer in Ayrshire

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Members of staff, the public and students came along to NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s fifth annual bowel screening awareness event to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

The popular event was held on 18 April in University Hospital Crosshouse and attracted more than 80 people. Topics ranged from the importance of exercise and good diet in cancer prevention, the role of genetics and how family history of disease is tracked, to early warning signs, advances in treatment and what support is available after treatment.

Last year’s star of the show, the eight feet high inflatable bowel, made a return appearance! The bowel, and its keeper Mick Pilling, travelled all the way from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to help delegates learn about bowel diseases in an innovative way. The bowel even attracted attention from all over the hospital as news of it spread.

Mr Bob Diament, Colorectal Surgeon and Director of Ayrshire and Arran’s bowel screening programme, commented: “I am very grateful to all the clinicians and guests who made this event such a success. Good discussion was generated on the day and the inflatable bowel was definitely a talking point! It is really important that we encourage as many people as possible to complete the bowel screening test as early diagnosis makes all the difference.”

All local people between the ages of 50 and 74 receive a testing kit through the post every two years, on or around their birthdays. Early diagnosis makes all the difference in treating bowel cancer. Since screening started in Ayrshire and Arran in September 2007, it has led to a diagnosis of bowel cancer in 257 patients. Every year 58,000 bowel screening kits are sent to people aged 50 to 74 in Ayrshire but only 60 per cent actually do the test.

For more information on the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, call 0800 0121 833 (calls charged at local rate) or visit www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk.