Bid to boost uptake of bowel cancer screening amongst Scots men

Academics are to look at ways to encourage Scots to take part in a new national screening programme for bowel cancer, a leading cause of cancer deaths in Western nations. The research team, led by the University of Edinburgh, wants to overcome resistance to the scheme from some higher risk Scots, as early screening for the disease has already proved effective in reducing death rates from bowel cancer.

The researchers will focus their efforts on encouraging low uptake groups which include men, those who live in areas of deprivation and people who belong to certain ethnic groups, to be screened for early-stage bowel cancer. In Scotland, there is no significant difference in incidence of the disease across socio-economic groups but survival rates are poorer amongst lower income groups.

Professor David Weller, Head of General Practice at the University of Edinburgh and leader of the study, said: "With the announcement of a new screening programme for bowel cancer in Scotland, it is particularly important to reach groups of people who would benefit from it most. One such group in Scotland includes those on low incomes, who tend to have higher rates of most illnesses related to lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and physical inactivity, and who would benefit from this new cancer screening programme.

"Screening has been seen to cut death rates in the population, and we have evidence to show that a national screening programme would be successful. However, we still don't know how well our strategies using primary care to target low-uptake groups are working. This study will fill in an important gap in our knowledge."


Contact: Linda Menzies
University of Edinburgh

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