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OUH highlights Bowel Cancer Screening during awareness month

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People over the age of 55 in Oxfordshire are being encouraged to take part in a new screening test to help prevent Bowel Cancer.

It is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is highlighting the importance of screening.

The Bowel Scope Screening test is a new modality of screening, gradually being rolled out across Oxfordshire. All men and women aged 55 will be invited automatically and those aged between 56 and 60 can self-refer onto the programme. The test takes 20 minutes and can be done during daytimes, evenings or weekends. It finds and removes any small bowel growths, called polyps, which could eventually turn into cancer.

The Bowel Scope Screening test, which launched in 2015, is an additional screening test to the established Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), which looks for traces of blood in the faeces. Bowel Scope Screening enables a younger population to access the programme and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging more people to participate. 

"Bowel Cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.  More than 41,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK, which is equivalent to someone being diagnosed every 15 minutes," says Terry Tran-Nguyen, Oxfordshire Bowel Cancer Screening Programme Manager.

"The early stages of bowel cancer are usually asymptomatic, so you are unlikely to notice anything out of the ordinary. Symptoms usually appear in the later stages of bowel cancer, which means it could be larger in size or has spread to other parts of the body, posing a greater challenge to treat. Prognosis is much better if we diagnose bowel cancer in its early stages.

"The new Bowel Scope test is a quick and highly effective test, which has shown to save lives by up to 50 percent."

Fifty-five year old University of Oxford Professor Sergei Dudarev was screened at the John Radcliffe Hospital after being invited by the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

"They discovered a slight abnormality so I had a small operation to remove it. Once removed, it showed it contained malignant cells," says Professor Dudarev.

"This was so unexpected as I had been feeling fine in every respect. Within two weeks of the operation I was able to do gardening and within a month travel overseas, and soon after was fully back to normal."

"The successful outcome of my case was entirely due to the early detection and diagnosis. The screening programme is a clear, simple and effective way of preventing the development of a life-ending condition, and it is certainly worth investing an afternoon of your time to ensure a long and happy life for many years to come."

The Bowel Scope Screening test is gradually being rolled out across Oxfordshire and as long as you're registered with a GP and living in an area where the test is being offered, you will be sent an invitation. You can check whether your area is 'live' on the programme by asking your GP or calling the Bowel Cancer Screening freephone helpline number: 0800 707 6060.

In November 2016, the Trust re-opened the Endoscopy Department at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury following a £2.7 million refurbishment. The upgraded unit with modern facilities and a state of the art decontamination system paves the way for increased demands in Endoscopy services and Bowel Cancer Screening in the Banbury area.

Last month, Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust officially opened its new extension to the Endoscopy Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital after around £1 million was invested on building work and new equipment.