Falkirk man backs call for more Scots to join the ‘bowel movement’

A Falkirk man who credits bowel screening with potentially saving his life is the latest person to join the ‘bowel movement’ sweeping Scotland.

Graham Hathaway, 62, from Falkirk today backed the drive to encourage more Scots to return their bowel screening tests, as statistics show that people are 14 times more likely to survive bowel cancer if it’s found early.

The bowel test remains the most effective way to find bowel cancer early when the signs are often hidden.

More than half a million people in Scotland do their bowel screening test every year 1. The test is sent through the post and offered to those aged 50-74 every two years.

Although more people are returning their tests than ever before, the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early campaign is targeting those who put it off.

Latest figures show that, on average, 46,000 bowel screening tests are returned in September, which is just over 1,500 tests per day 2, prompting the call for people to do theirs as they’re not alone.

Graham is encouraging people who are eligible for bowel screening not to put it off.

The father of two said: “I always do my bowel screening test as soon as it arrives. In 2011 after taking the test, the results came back saying they had spotted traces of blood in my sample. I then did a second test to be sure, which showed the same result.

“I then had to go for a colonoscopy, which revealed a large polyp which was removed there and then. If I hadn’t taken my test, we would have never known about the polyp, which could have potentially developed in to cancer.

“It may not be a pleasant task, but it’s well worth doing. It’s a good feeling when you send off the test, it’s reassuring, a bit like getting a check-up from your GP.”

Emma Anderson, Head of Scotland, Bowel Cancer UK said: “In September, an average of over 1,500 bowel screening tests are returned every day in Scotland, but we know that not everyone who receives their test does it.

“Bowel cancer is very treatable, and even curable, if diagnosed at an early stage, so it is important to do your test and not delay when it comes through your letter box.”

For more information, or to find out how to request a replacement test, visit getcheckedearly.org.