This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
New national bowel screening programme
A new initiative to help tackle bowel cancer was announced today.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in Scotland. In 2004 there were 1550 deaths from the disease.
Roll-out of the national bowel screening programme will begin from March 2007, with all NHS Board areas being covered by 2009.
Men and women aged between 50 and 74 will be screened every two years. The screening programme aims to reduce mortality by 15 per cent, potentially saving over 150 lives a year.
Announcing the details Health Minister Andy Kerr said:
"Reducing cancer deaths is one of the top health priorities for the Scottish Executive.
"If a cancer is identified early, treatment can be delivered quickly and survival rates improve. That is why screening is so important.
"Bowel cancer is second to lung cancer as the most common cause of cancer deaths among men and women in Scotland.
"Following the successful pilot in NHS Tayside, Grampian and Fife I am pleased to announce the national roll out of the programme.
"This screening programme aims to reduce mortality by 15 per cent, potentially saving over 150 lives a year.
"Testing kits will be posted to 650,000 people in the target age range every year. These tests are completed at home and are then returned for screening. Patients will receive results within two weeks.
"Screening in the pilot areas is continuing. We are investing £2 million of capital funding to develop an IT system and to expand the national facility in Dundee where returned kits will be screened."
The incidence of bowel cancer rises with age. From birth to age 64 the lifetime risk is 1 in 59 for men and 1 in 85 for women, from birth to age 74 this rises to 1 in 27 for men and 1 in 38 for women. There are around 3500 new cases every year
Research has shown that screening men and women for bowel cancer using Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) testing can reduce the mortality rate from bowel cancer by 15 per cent in those screened.
The screening programme will commence in 2007 and will be phased in gradually over a three year period giving Health Boards time to prepare and allocate resources. The programme will cost £19.5 million in its first three years of roll-out from 2007-08 to 2009-10. This funding will be met from existing NHS Board allocation increases.
The programme will be run from a central laboratory, IT call/recall and helpline facility based at Dundee's Kings Cross.
A pilot scheme ran in NHS Tayside, Grampian and Fife. In the pilot men and women aged 50 to 69 were screened. It started in April 2000 and first round concluded in March 2003. An evaluation of the pilot confirmed the potential benefits of colorectal cancer screening. These findings were endorsed by the UK National Screening Committee. The pilot demonstrated that 60 per cent of those targeted accept the screening invitation. Two per cent of these will have a positive test result of which 10 per cent will have a cancer.