Newham GP and chair of CCG Dr Prakesh Chandra explains bowel cancer screening


- Credit: Andrew Baker

As a local GP, I know that talking about cancer can be frightening, but it’s important to remember that when cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment options and chances of a full recovery are greater.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, but it can be treated and cured if found early.

Taking up the offer of NHS screening is one of the best ways to spot bowel cancer. It can also sometimes prevent bowel cancer from developing in the first place.

The NHS automatically sends everyone aged between 60 and 74 a free bowel cancer screening kit every two years. This kit is sent to your home to make it easier for you to do the test at a time and place that you feel comfortable

Together with Newham council, local GPs and our partners in the community, we’re encouraging more people to take up the offer of bowel screening when they receive the kit in the post. Currently, just under 40 per cent of people offered screening in Newham have taken part - much lower than the national average of 57.6 per cent.

To help improve bowel screening uptake across Newham, local community organisation Community Links are calling patients that have not returned their bowel screening kits and re-ordering a kit for them if needed. This has helped many patients complete the bowel screening kit successfully.

If you are contacted, I’d encourage you to speak to them about why screening is so important. They will also be able to answer any questions on how to use the kit.

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If you’re aged 75 or over, or if you’ve misplaced the kit you were sent in the post, you can call 0800 707 6060 to request a free bowel cancer screening kit. If you’re unsure how to use this kit, you can get free advice at your local pharmacy or GP practice.

For more information visit

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