According to a Cancer Research UK study, thousands more people would take part in bowel cancer screening if the kit included extras.
The study examined how to increase the number of people who take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme with less than six in ten 60 to 74 year olds in England returning the kit.
The study found that more people participated when they were also sent special latex free gloves and “poo catchers” and a recommendation from Cancer Research UK that people take part.
Bowel cancer screening increased from about 43 to 50% among 60 to 69 year olds and from47 to 54% among 70 to 74 year olds.
The findings of this study indicate that if all the extras were distributed together for a whole year, nearly 26,000 extra people could take up screening in London alone.
Experts estimate that the NHS bowel cancer screening programme could save 1,800 to 2,400 lives annually in England by 2025.
The study was conducted by Cancer Research UK with additionally support from NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health, and the English NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.
Some are uneasy about taking the test especially taking and storing samples. Others have difficulty completing the test and some misunderstand the instructions. However the findings of the study are encouraging and have shown ways to overcome the barriers by offering practical improvements.
NHS is in need of additionally investment as they are currently overstretched. However earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment are key to reducing the future burden of high treatment costs for the NHS.
Researchers encourage people to complete the test and post their kits back. It may be easier than you think and it really could save lives.