Bowel cancer screening age lowered to 55
Bowel cancer screening will be made available to more people in Wales as home testing is expanded to include 55 to 57 year olds.
The expansion will mean 172,000 more people in Wales 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.
Part of a £16 million investment package by the Welsh Government, the funding has supported the introduction the new, easier to use, FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) at home testing kit. 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.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:
It is great to see the next phase of our plan to widen access to bowel cancer screening come into effect.
We have previously introduced the more user-friendly test and started inviting those aged 58-59. This next phase of the programme widens access to those aged 55-57.
This move will help us to identity more bowel cancer cases early and support improvement in survival rates.
I’m also pleased to see that more people are taking part in the programme and that the uptake rate now meets the expected standard.
In future, we plan to continue to optimise the programme by lowering the age range to 50 and increasing the sensitivity of the test until we come into line with UK recommendations.
Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive at Bowel Cancer UK says:
This is a step in the right direction towards screening from 50 in Wales, which we’ve long campaigned for. Screening is one of the best ways to diagnose bowel cancer early, or in some cases prevent it from developing in the first place, and so inviting more people to take part is welcomed.
Offering the home test to more people is just one of the ways to improve bowel screening, however, the biggest barrier to improving early diagnosis, and offering a world-class screening programme, is the long-standing workforce shortage in endoscopy and pathology services. We now urgently need to address this through a comprehensive workforce plan that can support the bowel cancer screening programme in Wales to achieve its full potential.
Dr Sharon Hillier, Director of the Screening Division at Public Health Wales, said:
I’m delighted that we are expanding the bowel cancer screening programme to include those aged 55, 56 and 57 in Wales.
Bowel screening aims to find cancer at an early stage when treatment is likely to be more effective. Early detection is so important as at least 9 out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer if it’s found and treated early.
Bowel screening also detects and removes pre-cancerous polyps that if left in the bowel could develop into cancer.
The invitation and test kit will be arriving via post to those who are eligible over the next 12 months. The test kit is easy to complete and to send to our laboratory for analysis.
I would urge everyone who receives an invitation to take up their offer as it could save their life.
Latest News from
Minister opens Cardiff’s new state-of-the art ambulance station02/12/2022 15:25:00
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, officially opened the Welsh Ambulance Service’s new station in Cardiff yesterday.
Brrrilliant results for Welsh bathing water quality with 99% compliance reached in 202202/12/2022 14:05:00
Wales has once again published stellar results for its bathing water quality standards, with 99% compliance reached in 2022.
More than 500 people from Ukraine find a place of their own in Wales02/12/2022 11:05:00
More than 500 people from Ukraine have moved into longer-term accommodation after being supported through the Welsh Government’s super sponsor scheme.
New measures to tackle avian influenza come into force tomorrow01/12/2022 16:05:00
Bird keepers are being reminded new compulsory biosecurity and housing measures to further protect their birds against avian influenza come into force tomorrow (Friday 2 December).
First year of Co-operation Agreement delivers lasting change01/12/2022 15:05:00
Universal free school meals in primary schools across Wales and new measures to help people to live in their local communities are among some of the commitments delivered in the first year of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
Ambitious new law that ‘transforms the rented sector in Wales’ comes into force01/12/2022 13:15:00
The biggest change to housing law in Wales for decades has today (Thursday, December 1) come into force, bringing greater transparency and consistency to renting a home.
Public Commemoration in Wales: new guidance to help create a more informed relationship with our history30/11/2022 16:15:00
The Welsh Government yesterday launched a consultation on new guidance which will help public bodies better represent modern Wales through public commemorations.
Support package announced for people affected by the closure of Menai Suspension Bridge30/11/2022 15:15:00
Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters will visit the Menai Suspension Bridge today where he will unveil a package of support to ease the transport pressures on people travelling to and from Anglesey.
More incentives to join the teaching profession announced30/11/2022 14:15:00
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has today announced several changes to support and encourage more people to join the teaching profession.