FOUR out of ten people around Bognor Regis and Chichester are ignoring bowel cancer screening tests.
The latest NHS figures show the coastal West Sussex area has one of the highest uptakes of the free examination that has the potential to save lives. But the response rate of 62.76 per cent – the third best in Kent, Surrey and Sussex – still means some 38 per cent of residents are not bothering to take part.
The NHS bowel cancer screening programme can detect the disease at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and there is a greater chance of survival.
Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: “It’s quite simple. Bowel cancer screening saves lives. I would encourage everyone who’s over 60 to take the test, and for those who are younger, to encourage their loved ones over 60 to complete it. It could save yours or your loved one’s life.
“Bowel Cancer UK joined Beating Bowel Cancer to create a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer.
“We’re determined to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by the disease.
“Taking part in screening is the best way to get diagnosed early when treatment is more likely to be successful. Early diagnosis really does save lives.”
Anyone who is registered with a GP and is aged 60-74 will receive a test in the post every two years. It is carried out at home and comes with step by step instructions.
The test looks for hidden blood in poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer. Almost 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer yearly in the UK.
More than 16,000 people die from the condition annually to make it the nation’s second biggest cancer killer.
The highest uptake of the test is around Horsham at 65.3 per cent and the lowest is 55.2 per cent in Dartford.