AROUND 750 lives have been saved in Scotland since the start of the national bowel screening programme in 2007, figures show.
• Scottish Government reveals 750 lives have been saved by bowel cancer screening programme
• Data release coincides with Nudge Day, a campaign to remind older family members to get tested for signs of bowel cancer
The Scottish Government revealed the estimates to coincide with Nudge Day - a day of action to encourage Scots to “nudge” older family members to get tested for bowel cancer.
Health officials are keen to expand the programme as at the moment only just over half of people who are eligible - those aged 50 to 74 - actually do the test (54.5 per cent).
Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “Figures show that just over half of those eligible to participate in the screening programme actually do the test, yet our latest statistics show that around 750 premature deaths have been prevented since the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme began six years ago.
“Bowel cancer can have a devastating effect on families across Scotland and the number of lives saved could be far higher if more people took the screening test.
“Everyone has a part to play in encouraging parents and older family members to take the test, as it is the best way to detect the hidden signs of bowel cancer.”
Emma Anderson, from charity Bowel Cancer UK, encouraged everyone across Scotland to get behind Nudge Day.
“Bowel cancer is very treatable, especially if diagnosed at an early stage so it is important to use and return a screening kit if you receive it,” she said.
“Some people are uncomfortable about doing it or talking about the subject but family and friends should do everything they can to encourage those eligible to do the test.”