Thank you for your email regarding the screening age of bowel cancer to be reduced from 60 to 50 in England. I am aware that bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer to be diagnosed in the UK. On the 25th January I attended an event hosted by Beating Bowel Cancer in order to discuss the problems, as well as the solutions to this disease. I am pleased to support their campaign to lower the screening age from 60 to 50 years.
Currently, under the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England, people aged 60 —74 years old are sent a home testing kit every two years. Those aged above the eligible age limit are also able to self-refer for screening. As part of the programme, a new test is being introduced which is easier to complete and it is hoped that 200,000 more people per year will take up the opportunity to be screened. An additional one-off bowel scope screening test is also being introduced for those aged 55.
All hospital trusts are able to offer screening for patients if clinically appropriate. New guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, published in June 2015, state that GPs should offer screening for those who are aged 50 and over presenting the relevant symptoms.
Though cancer survival rates in the UK have never been higher, there is still work to be done. The Government is working with the NHS, charities and patient groups to deliver a new cancer strategy developed by the independent Cancer Taskforce. By 2020, everyone urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer will receive either a definitive diagnosis or the all-clear within four weeks.
The £1.2 billion Cancer Drugs Fund has helped over 95,000 people and I continue to support the Government’s commitment to increase NHS spending in England by £10 billion in real terms by 2020/21.
Thank you once again for contacting me, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you require any further information.
Derek Thomas MP