Health Secretary calls on Scots to take cancer test

Health Secretary Shona Robison.Health Secretary Shona Robison.
Health Secretary Shona Robison.
Scots who put off doing their bowel screening test are being reminded of its importance during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

More people than ever before are doing the test in Scotland - almost 580,000 were completed and returned in 2016.

With figures showing that, on average, 47,500 tests are returned in April, the Health Secretary has reminded those eligible that the test could be a lifesaver and urged people not to delay doing it.

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Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland, and the early signs are often hidden. The bowel screening test – offered to everyone in Scotland aged 50 to 74 every two years – remains the most effective way of finding the disease early, when the likelihood of survival is 14 times higher.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “It’s encouraging to see the large number of people in Scotland that are completing and returning their bowel screening tests, as bowel cancer is treatable and can often be cured if found early.

“However there are still many people put off by the test, or simply don’t get around to completing it. We know it’s not the nicest thing to do, but it could save your life.

“I hope the awareness generated during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month spurs people of screening age to act, or reminds those who have mislaid the test to request a replacement.”

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Emma Anderson, Head of Scotland for Bowel Cancer UK, said: “It’s quite simple, bowel cancer screening saves lives. The screening programme will save over 2,000 lives each year by 2025. I would encourage everyone who’s over 50 to take the test, and for those who are younger to encourage their loved ones over 50 to complete it. It could save yours or your loved ones life.”

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