New ‘poo kit’ to cut bowel cancer

With nearly half the people in Leeds (44%) ignoring their bowel cancer screening tests, the NHS and Public Health, Leeds City Council have launched a new initiative to encourage more people in the city to take this simple health check that can save lives.

Bowel Cancer posterCurrently all 60-74-year-olds receive the bowel cancer screening test every two years, sent directly to their home address as part of a national screening programme. For the next three months, anyone in South Leeds getting the test will also receive a special helper kit.

The screening test itself is a simple kit of three items – a stick for taking a poo sample, a card for placing the samples which can be hygienically sealed, and a freepost envelope for returning the kit.

Following feedback from the public that some people find the test off-putting, the NHS in Leeds and Leeds City Council have joined forces to send out the helper kits to 12,500 people. A similar initiative by Cancer Research UK in London found the helper kits increased the number of people taking the test by up to 6%.

Ayeesha Lewis, Advanced Health Improvement Specialist for Cancer, Public Health, says:

“Some people have trouble completing the test, and now this extra helper kit makes completing the test easier. It contains a pair of disposable gloves and a device to place on your toilet seat to make taking a poo sample easier.  There is also a pictorial instructions guide in the pack.

“We know that the helper kits can make a big difference to encouraging people to take the test and ultimately, this could save lives in Leeds.”

Taking the bowel cancer screening test can be a lifesaver as it provides an opportunity to catch bowel cancer in the earlier stages, providing a much better chance of treating it successfully. 97% of people diagnosed at the earliest stage of bowel cancer will survive for more than five years. However, fewer than 10% of people diagnosed at the latest stage of bowel cancer will survive for more than five years.

60-74-year-olds in South Leeds can find out more about taking the bowel cancer screening test at