Bowel Screening Hub celebrates tenth Birthday

RS107750_PG2_4202-scrRoyal Surrey County Hospital is celebrating 10 years of hosting the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme’s Southern Hub.
Since its launch in September 2006 in excess of eight million men and women have been invited to be screened; more than 7,000 people have been diagnosed with bowel cancer and another 8,000 with advanced benign tumours.
The Southern Hub has grown and is now the largest of five Bowel Cancer Screening Programmes across England.
When the service first launched it sent out just 100 screening invitations in its first daily batch, now it invites about 104,000 people for screening every month.
Screening invitations and test kits are sent every two years to men and women aged 60 to 74 years. The kits are designed to detect small amounts of blood in stool that might be shed from the surface of bowel cancer or its precursor (benign tumours or polyps).
These are analysed at the Hub and anyone who tests positive is invited for a follow-up investigation, usually colonoscopy, at one of 18 screening centres, including Royal Surrey.
In 2013, the Hub introduced the BCSP’s bowel scope programme offering 55-year-old men and women a once-only examination of the lower bowel using a flexible sigmoidoscope, which allows doctors to see the lower part of the colon.
As a result of this programme, an additional 350 people, so far, have been diagnosed with bowel cancer or a benign tumour.
In 2014 the Southern Hub was one of two to run a six month pilot to investigate the practicalities of replacing the current test with a superior and simpler version.
Based on the result of that pilot, including a marked increase in uptake of the screening invitation, plans are underway to introduce the faecal immunochemical test, or FIT, across England in 2018.
Paula Head, Chief Executive of Royal Surrey County Hospital, said: “Bowel screening offers a real opportunity to try and detect disease before symptoms develop, making any cancers found easier to treat effectively and giving a better chance of long term survival.
“We are delighted to have hosted the Southern Hub for the past 10 years and looking forward to working together for many more to come.”
The Southern Hub’s Director, Sally Benton, is proud of the Hub’s success – “Since its inception, the conscientious and hard-working team at the Hub has strived to provide the best possible service to our population. We will continue to do so as the Programme enters a new phase with the implementation of FIT.”

©2017 Royal Surrey County Hospital

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