Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Bowel screening 'saves 15 lives' in Isle of Man

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Media captionBrian O'Hanlon said bowel cancer screening saved his life

Fifteen lives have been saved during a two year bowel screening programme in the Isle of Man, the Department of Health has said.

The cycle was for residents aged between 60-69 but the department has now extended the age range to 75.

Dr Parameswaran Kishore, director of public health, said more lives could be saved by extending the age range.

The uptake for the screening programme was 61% compared to 50% in the UK, according to Dr Kishore.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and the Isle of Man, after lung and breast cancer.

Between 2008 and October 2013, 423 patients with confirmed bowel cancer were admitted to Noble's Hospital.

'Don't die of ignorance'

Island residents aged between 60 and 75 will receive a letter inviting them to participate in the screening.

Once returned, a test kit will be sent in the post.

Brian O'Hanlon is one of the 15 people to have tested positive for bowel cancer in the past two years as part of the screening but had successful surgery.

"I'd say don't die of ignorance," he said.

"Send the card in and don't just put it in a draw and forget about it."

The Douglas man added: "Bowel cancer can kill and often has no symptoms - I didn't have any symptoms at all.

"I only sent mine in after my wife's came back negative and I'm glad I did."

Dr Kishore added: "We want to do all we can to increase the uptake number and will continue to raise awareness about this important initiative."

Dudley Butt MLC, member for health, said it had been a "real success story".

The screening aims to detect cancer at an early stage, before people experience any symptoms and when treatment is more effective.

Dr Kishore said: "If diagnosed early, bowel cancer is highly treatable but some are diagnosed too late."

Residents under 60 or over 75 can contact their GP for further advice.

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