Drive to increase bowel screening participation

Scots encouraged to take potentially life-saving test

A drive has been launched to encourage more Scots to return their bowel screening tests in August.

Latest figures show, on average, 43,500 bowel screening tests are returned in August but some people are still delaying doing their test as this figure is 8,500 fewer than the highest month of the year for test returns - October.

The Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early (DCE) campaign will run for five weeks over August to encourage more people to do their test as soon as they receive it and, in doing so, join the ‘bowel movement’.

All adults aged 50-74 are invited to take part in bowel screening every two years in Scotland with over half a million doing the test every year. The test remains the best way of finding bowel cancer early when survival is 14 times more likely.

The latest campaign phase comes as figures published today shows that uptake of bowel screening between November 2013 and October 2015 was 57.5%, with the number of participants exceeding a million.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The bowel screening test is the best way to catch bowel cancer early. Today’s statistics, that shows three out of five cancers detected by screening were diagnosed at the earliest two stages, reinforces this.

“In August, while around 43,500 tests are completed and returned, not everyone who receives their test does it. It’s a busy time of the year for holidays but don’t delay when you receive yours through the letterbox – it could be a lifesaver.

“This Government is committed to continually improving access to cancer services for patients. Our £100 million cancer strategy outlines how we will invest over the next five years to ensure patients who are suspected of having, and are subsequently diagnosed with, cancer can get timely access to treatment.

“This year we are investing £3 million specifically to improve immediate access to diagnostics including provision of additional scopes and radiology investigations for suspected cancer patients.”

Notes to editors

  • The Detect Cancer Early (DCE) campaign will see TV, radio, outdoor and digital adverts running throughout August to encourage Scots to do their test and join the bowel movement as it could save their life
  • For more information or to find out how to request a replacement test visit
  • The previous DCE campaign phase (September 2015) saw an additional 3,000 tests returned, compared to the same time period the previous year.
  • Since the launch of the Detect Cancer Early Programme, uptake has increased from 54.9% to 57.5%.
  • Males in the most deprived areas have shown the largest increase in bowel screening uptake from 39.6% to 43.0%.
  • The ISD publication, ‘Scottish Bowel Screening Programme Statistics’, is available on the ISD website:


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