Liverpool clinicians are encouraging people from South Asian communities to have a bowel screening - The Guide Liverpool

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Liverpool clinicians are encouraging people from South Asian communities to have a bowel screening

05/10/2021

Liverpool clinicians are helping to promote a cancer screening campaign aimed at South Asian communities in the city.


Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliance is hoping the campaign will increase the uptake of bowel screening, which can detect signs of cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Videos promoting the screening test – known as FIT – have been produced using narration from clinicians, including Liverpool GPs, promoting the test in a number of South Asian languages, as people from these communities are only 50% as likely to do the test compared with those from a white British background.

The campaign, created with help of Liverpool CCG and the city council’s public health team, is aimed at reducing the amount of people who seek treatment in later stages of the disease.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the UK – with more than 40,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year. Also called colorectal cancer, the early symptoms can be difficult to spot, which is why regular screening is so important for people with an increased risk.

The NHS offers bowel cancer screening checks free of charge, with everyone between 60 and 74 years old automatically being sent a test kit in the post every two years. 

Liverpool GP Dr Shamim Rose, of Sefton Park Medical Centre, who took part in the campaign, said:

“Research shows that people from a South Asian background are only half as likely to do this very important test compared to those people from a white British background. 

“We must try to push the message harder in these communities that this screening check is vital if the NHS is to treat bowel cancer at an earlier stage, when your chances of survival are much higher.

“The test is clean, hygienic, and can be done in the privacy and safety of your own home at a time of your choosing. All you need to do is then send it off in the post so the NHS can check it.

“If your mother or father has had a test sent to them and they are reluctant to do it, please tell them how important it is or show them the campaign videos, which come in various languages, that explain why the test is vital and how to carry it out.”

Videos in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi and Urdu are now on the Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliance (CMCA) YouTube channel here.

CMCA Primary Care Lead Dr Debbie Harvey said:

“Regular NHS bowel cancer screening reduces the risk of dying from bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer and this test can help find it at an early stage, when it is easier to treat.

“Having bowel cancer screening reduces your risk of dying from bowel cancer by at least 25% – so it is vital you do not ignore the test when it comes to you in the post.”

For more information on bowel screening, call the free NHS screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Featured picture credit: Mark Anthony Ray

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