580,000 Scots now being screened for bowel cancer
The statistics by Scottish Bowel Centre Screening Management Information also showed that, on average, 47,500 bowel screening tests are returned in April.
Health Secretary Shona Robison believes the test is a lifesaver and urged people not to delay having one as Bowel Cancer awareness month begins.
It is the third most common cancer in Scotland and the screening is offered to everyone aged 50 to 74 every two years.
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.
Fred MacAulay supports bowel cancer survivor
“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.”
Screening remains the most effective way of finding the disease early, when the likelihood of survival is 14 times higher.
Bowel Cancer UK volunteer Cathy Gladwin, 61, from Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, is using her experience to highlight the importance of having a bowel screening test.
The mother-of -three was diagnosed with the condition in April 2015 after returning her test the month before and received a letter saying further investigation was needed.
After undergoing a colonoscopy at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, she had a tumour removed at the beginning of June.
She said: “Bowel cancer is treatable especially if it’s found early enough and I can turn round and say wholeheartedly I know that screening works.
“Thanks to the work of doctors, surgeons and researchers, there’s been huge advances which means a bowel cancer diagnosis isn’t what it used to be.
“I always believed that we’re lucky to have the offer of the bowel screening test and I hope my story encourages other people to do it.
“If I hadn’t taken the test, and been treated so swiftly, things could have been very different.”