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Department of Health to launch Bowel Cancer Screening Programme 17 February 2011

The Department of Health is pleased to announce that it will be rolling-out a new Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in the Isle of Man later in 2011. All residents aged 60 – 69 will be invited to participate in the screening programme which could potentially save around four to five lives on the Island each year.

Hon David Anderson MHK - Minister for HealthMinister for Health, David Anderson MHK said

“I really am pleased that we’ve been able to allocate resources to this important screening initiative, despite the current economic climate. This screening programme will have a real and measurable impact in reducing the number of fatalities from this deadly condition on the Island. Each day there are new developments in health care, all of which cost money. Prioritising these brings difficult choices, but bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in both men and women, and with one in 10 cancer deaths attributed to bowel cancer, I’m certain that implementing this programme is the right way forward.”

Residents in the target age group will automatically receive a test and information pack by post and will need to return samples from stools for testing. If the test is positive, this does not mean that the person has cancer. It does mean that the person will need further tests – they will be assessed in a clinic and be offered colonoscopy (a test which involves passing a flexible telescope to view the inside of the bowel).

Dr Kishore, Director of Public Health added

"For many years now there has been an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer. Like any type of cancer, early detection and treatment is key, and this simple test can detect bowel cancer before a person has any noticeable symptoms. The way the test works may put some people off participating, I understand that, but it is vital that attitudes change. Around 25 people die from bowel cancer in the Isle of Man every year – a not insignificant number; this screening programme will save many of those lives.”

The target date for the programme to commence is 1 July 2011.

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