Bowel cancer screening: the NHS finally catches up

bowel cancer screening

Great news! The NHS has followed expert advice and reduced the recommended age at which to start bowel cancer screening from aged 60 to age 50.

Guess what? That is how we have worked here since I started the practice over 12 years ago.

Here at Dr Tickle, we believe in working together with you for your health. Prevention is always going to be better than cure, but one size does not fit all. Tailoring screening for harmful illnesses in a way that fits your history, genetic attributes, lifestyle risks and your views on how you would like to manage your health is key to keeping you well, physically, psychologically and financially.

To ensure that we can support you like this, I’ve spent the last 10 years studying the science behind disease prevention and the international expert panel recommendations on cancer screening.

It’s important to me that we only order tests that are safe, scientifically justified and will make a difference to the decisions you could make to enable better health in the future. It would be unethical and an abuse of your trust to do so.

Our approach to bowel cancer screening

Given our current understanding of the science, I now recommend the following:

  • Non-invasive screening for colon cancer for everyone. The test I recommend is a faecal occult blood test.
  • Start screening from aged 50 years and repeat every 12 months.
  • If one first degree relative (parent, children or siblings) or two or more second-degree relatives (grandparents, aunts and uncles) have had bowel cancer, start screening from the age at diagnosis of the youngest affected relative, minus 10 years.
  • If you have symptoms that could suggest a bowel condition, such as abdominal pains, change in digestive habits, diarrhoea, increased frequency of needing the toilet or blood/mucous in the excreta, then screening is not where you need to be. These symptoms need a prompt appointment for formal investigations with a specialist colleague, a gastroenterologist.

To discuss our bowel cancer screening further, call us on 07788797824.