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Bowel cancer screening to start at 50
Public Health Minister Steve Brine has announced that the Department of Health and Social Care has agreed to recommendations that bowel cancer screening in England should start 10 years earlier at age 50.
Men and women aged 60 to 74 are currently invited for bowel screening and are sent a home test kit every two years to provide stool samples. However, thanks to an independent expert screening committee, those aged 50 to 74 will now be offered the screening using the faecal immunochemical home test kit.
With evidence showing that screening people at a younger age would enable more bowel cancers to be picked up at an earlier stage, NHS England and Public Health England will now consider how to transition towards lowering the screening age as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Brine said: “We are determined to make our cancer survival rates the best in the world. With the roll out of FIT as a new bowel screening test from the autumn - a much more convenient and reliable test – we have a real opportunity to reshape our bowel screening programme and potentially detect the stages of bowel cancer much earlier. We are now considering opportunities and taking expert advice on how a sustainable, optimal bowel cancer screening programme starting at age 50 can work in the future.”