CAMPAIGN CORRESPONDENCE


  • Bowel Cancer Screening

    13 December 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about bowel cancer.
     
    Members of the Government do not, by convention, sign any Early Day Motions, as doing so is likely to breach the Ministerial Code's rules on collective responsibility.
     
    However, I appreciate your concerns as I know that bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Over eight in ten cases of bowel cancer occur in the over 60s and I agree that early diagnosis is key.
     
    Under the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in England, people aged 60-74 years old are sent a home testing kit every two years. Those aged above the eligible age limit are also able to self-refer for screening. As part of the Programme, a new test is being introduced which is easier to complete and it is hoped that 200,000 more people per year will take up the opportunity to be screened.  An additional one-off bowel scope screening test is also being introduced for those aged 55 years old. As of March 2015, roughly two-thirds of screening centres were offering this test to 55 year olds. This is an important test which can find and remove any small bowel growths, which could turn into cancer.
     
    All hospital trusts are able to offer screening for patients if clinically appropriate. New cancer referral guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published in June 2015 state that GPs should refer patients for testing in hospital if they present with relevant symptoms at relevant ages.
     
    Cancer survival rates in the UK have never been higher, however, I am aware that there is still more to be done. The Government is working with the NHS, charities and patient groups to deliver the new cancer strategy developed by the independent Cancer Taskforce. By 2020, everyone urgently referred with a suspicion of cancer will receive either a definitive diagnosis or the all-clear within four weeks.
     
    The £1.2 billion Cancer Drugs Fund has helped over 95,000 people and I continue to support the Government's commitment to increase NHS spending in England by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years.
     
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely



    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General







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