South Birmingham has lowest bowel cancer testing rates across West Mids


Bowel cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer. Every year over 41,000 people (one every 15 minutes) are diagnosed with bowel cancer and 16,200 people die of the disease. More than 80% of people diagnosed are 60 or above with symptoms including bleeding from the rectum, blood in the stools, abdominal pain and a change in bowel habit.

If you are registered with your GP and aged 60-74 then you will receive a home screening kit every 2 years through the post. This home screening kit checks for the presence of blood in your stool and is vital in early diagnosis.

April marks Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and I am supporting the call, urging more people to take part in bowel cancer screening and spread the word about the importance of screening.

South Birmingham has the lowest bowel cancer screening uptake in the West Midlands with just a 45.98% uptake rate. In fact, I haven’t taken part in bowel cancer screening yet, something which this campaign has prompted me to do.

201604 Bowel Cancer Awareness

Increasing the number of people being tested is very important as screening for bowel cancer can help provide early diagnoses and detect bowel cancer before obvious symptoms become apparent, this is hugely important in boosting survival rates.

Therefore, for those who are above 60 it is vital they take part in a screening test. If you are younger than 60 it important to encourage people over 60 in your life to take part in a screening test. If you notice any of the symptoms associated with bowel cancer even if you are much younger than 60 then see your GP, there is a range of tests available to help make an accurate diagnosis.

Bowel cancer is treatable and curable, and with more early diagnoses we can save more lives.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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