Cancer screening campaign launched

Health Secretary Shona RobisonHealth Secretary Shona Robison
Health Secretary Shona Robison

Half a million people in Scotland complete and return their bowel screening kits every year – but a new campaign is aiming to further increase uptake by urging 50-74 year olds to join the ‘bowel movement’.

Although the number of people undertaking home bowel screening is higher than ever before, the new drive aims to highlight the growing number of people in Scotland who are routinely returning their test, in a bid to motivate others to do the same.

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The likelihood of surviving bowel cancer is 14 times higher if detected at an early stage compared to a late stage2, and the home bowel screening test remains the most effective way of finding the disease early.

The new TV advert follows a housewife preparing to take her bowel screening test in the privacy of her own bathroom, joined by a growing crowd of supporters as she makes her way to her home.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland, but it’s more treatable if caught early and can often be cured.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The new campaign is a tongue in cheek way of getting across a serious message – that the home bowel screening test could be a lifesaver. As part of the Detect Cancer Early programme, this is yet another way we’re helping bring cancer down to size in Scotland.

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People who receive their bowel screening kit may be put off by the process, but the reality is that more people than ever in Scotland are completing the test and returning it. This means more people have a better chance of bowel cancer being detected early, when the chances of survival are much higher.

“It’s positive that participation is rising, but this campaign is focused on encouraging those who have dismissed taking the test or are putting off completing and returning it. We want everyone in Scotland to have the best chance of surviving cancer – and bowel cancer can often be cured, if it’s caught early.”

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: “We very much welcome this new advertising campaign as it will encourage higher levels of participation in screening which is vitally important and has been proven to save lives.

“Bowel cancer is Scotland’s second biggest cancer killer with 1,600 people dying each year, yet it is both treatable and curable if diagnosed early. For people of screening age, taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early.”

For further information visit or call the Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline on 0800 0121 833.