The College has responded to an ISD Scotland report on Scottish bowel screening. The report says that national uptake of bowel screening has been higher since the new test kit was introduced in November 2017.

The College is encouraged that there has been an increase in testing by those in the most deprived areas - up from 41.7% to 51.7%. Uptake amongst those who had never participated before has also increased significantly from 7.8% to 18.9%.

However, uptake is lower among men (61.6%) compared to women (66.1%). Those in more deprived areas (51.7%) in Scotland are less likely to participate than in the least deprived areas (72.5%). 

A publication summary can be found here.

Dr Deepak Dwarakanath, Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Gastroenterologist, said:

We are encouraged by the positive impact that the new bowel screening test kit has had in Scotland. Since the new kit was introduced in November 2017, national uptake has been higher than the standard of 60%.

However, we note that uptake of screening is lower among men and people in more deprived areas across Scotland.

Although the causes of bowel cancer are relatively unknown, there are controllable and non-controllable factors which can play a contributory role.

The controllable factors include diet, obesity, smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity. It’s therefore important that as a population we get more active, cut down on alcohol, stop smoking, and maintain a healthy diet to reduce our chances of developing bowel cancer and other types of cancer.

Factors such as age, genetic disorders, and family history can make developing bowel cancer more likely too. It is important, therefore, that men and women aged 50 to 74 across Scotland complete the bowel screening test when they receive their kit from the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre.

Those who are 75 or over can still take a bowel screening test every 2 years, although they must request a new test kit each time.


Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658