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A third of people in Hull are not up to date with life-saving screening

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Emma Jacob


Almost a third of people in Hull are missing out on vital screening which could find early signs of bowel cancer, according to new research by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Recent data has shown that close to 14,000 eligible people in Hull are not up to date with their bowel cancer screening.

Man opening an NHS bowel cancer screening kit

Bowel cancer screening tests for tiny amounts of blood in poo which can be a sign of bowel cancer. Screening helps find bowel cancer early, when there are often more treatment options available. Screening also helps prevent cancer by detecting growths in the bowel, which can usually be removed, before they have a chance to develop into cancer.

Hull has the highest rate of bowel cancer diagnosis in the region, and more than half of these bowel cancers are diagnosed at a late stage.

“Screening saves lives, and it is vital that people in Hull take part in their bowel screening when invited. More people taking part in screening will result in more cancers diagnosed at an early stage, and more lives saved.”

Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research

People between the ages of 60 and 74 in England are currently invited for bowel screening every two years. The NHS is gradually reducing the age of eligibility for bowel screening to include those between 50 and 59.

Bowel screening involves completing a home test kit called a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). People are asked to collect a small sample of poo and send it to a lab. This is then checked for tiny traces of blood. If blood is found in the sample, the person will be invited for further tests.

Blood can also be a sign of growths in the bowel called ‘polyps’. Polyps are non-cancerous but could develop into cancer over time. Finding polyps through screening means they can be removed before they have chance to develop into cancer.

Yorkshire Cancer Research funds pioneering research and services to raise awareness of the importance of screening and determine the most effective ways to encourage people to take part in screening.

“The charity is committed to saving more lives in Yorkshire, and increasing the number of people who take part in screening is an important part of achieving this.”

Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research

A £4.9 million research programme, led by researchers at Hull York Medical School and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, is developing understanding of why there are differences in the diagnosis and survival of bowel cancer in Hull and across the region.

As part of the programme, a research study examined inequalities in cancer screening participation in Yorkshire. Led by Dr Jo Cairns, the trial focused on understanding barriers to cancer screening with the aim of developing community-based ways to encourage people to take part in screening.

There are many reasons why people may choose not to take part in screening, and often there are many interconnected factors, depending on the person’s background and lifestyle.

“My research, funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, will hopefully help inform new and effective interventions to support more people to attend screening. This will first and foremost improve treatment for those affected by cancer, but it will also result in more equitable health outcomes for people across Yorkshire.”

Hull York Medical School