Bairns for Bowels

Players from Falkirk Football Club took time out of their busy training schedule on Monday 8th April 2013 to help raise awareness of bowel cancer.

The team are encouraging fans between the ages of 50 and 74 in Falkirk and the NHS Forth Valley area to take the bowel screening test as part of the Scottish Government’s ‘Detect Cancer Early’ campaign.

Nine out of ten people survive bowel cancer if it’s identified early on, and the campaign’s TV advert – which features the voice of Still Game star Ford Kiernan – also carries the message ‘Bowel Cancer. Don’t Take A Chance. Take The Test” to highlight the importance of screening for this largely ‘hidden’ cancer, as there are often few symptoms early on.

Although almost 4,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in Scotland, just over half (54.5 per cent) of those eligible to participate in the programme actually do the test which is sent in the post every two years.  Take-up of the bowel screening test in NHS Forth Valley is just 53.9 per cent.

Falkirk Football Club’s Technical Director Alex Smith wants to help more people understand the benefits of participating in the national bowel screening programme:

 It’s shocking to hear that bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. As a team we always aim to advocate healthy lifestyles so we’re using this opportunity to encourage those over 50 in the Forth Valley area to take the bowel screening test.

“If nine out of ten people can survive the disease if it’s detected and treated early, we want our supporters to ignore the stigma often associated with bowel cancer and take the test as soon as they get it through the post. If it can save your life it’s a no-brainer.

Mary Orzel, Cancer Services Manager for NHS Forth Valley, said:

 We’re delighted that Falkirk Football Club are backing the bowel screening campaign as it will help to raise awareness of the disease and hopefully encourage fans across Forth Valley to return their tests kits. This in turn could lead to more lives being saved across Forth Valley through earlier detection and treatment.

“While the Screening Programme remains the best way to detect bowel cancer you should never ignore changes to your health.  Make an appointment with your GP if you spot any unusual or persistent changes to their bowel movements, even in between screenings.

For information on the screening programme, contact the Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline on 0800 0121 833 or visit .