The trust’s bowel cancer screening centre is one of the first in the country to roll out a new screening programme targeting men and women aged 55.
GP practices will be added to the scheme over a two year period. As each practice is added, people reaching the age of 55 thereafter will receive an invitation for Bowel Scope screening shortly after their 55th birthday. Those for whom roll out comes too late will be able to opt in provided that they are between the ages of 55 and 60.
The screening is an examination called flexible sigmoidoscopy which looks inside the lower bowel. The aim is to find any small growths called polyps which may develop into bowel cancer if left untreated.
This service is an addition to the existing NHS bowel cancer screening programme.
Consultant gastroenterologist Matt Rutter, who is the clinical director for the bowel cancer screening programme for the whole of Teesside and parts of North Yorkshire and County Durham, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer this new service.”
“Some people don’t realise that cancer can develop in the bowel for a long time before it is sometimes discovered – several months or even years.
“A screening test can pick up these issues earlier than they would be. Bowel cancer is most common is people over 55 years of age, which is why it is important that anyone invited for a screening should come into hospital for it.
“Men and women already receive a bowel cancer testing kit on their 60th birthday that they complete and send back to a testing lab – but the new programme is something else we are using to help us pick up bowel cancer as early as we can.”
Procedures are being carried out at the bowel screening centre at the University Hospital of North Tees as well as at local centres including at the University Hospital of Hartlepool and in Northallerton and Redcar.