Bowel cancer screening age must be reduced to tackle the significant increase of cases across Northern Ireland, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called on the minimum age for bowel cancer screening to be reduced to 50-years-old, to tackle the increase of cases diagnosed.

Health Paula Bradshaw Cancer

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after new figures from the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry documented a 17 per cent increase in cases. 

“The updated figures show a bleak picture for bowel cancer diagnoses across Northern Ireland, which is even more damning when we are cognisant of the steps we can take to reduce these numbers.

“As one of the bowel cancer champions, I’ve been working closely with Bowel Cancer UK in their campaign to reduce the minimum screening age to 50. We know in places where this has been implemented, it has been critical to early intervention, which we know saves lives. 

“I’m pleased to see the report acknowledges the introduction of the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) across health and social care trusts in January 2021. It is through the use of innovative science and research we are learning more about these cancers and how they can be best diagnosed, treated, but ultimately prevented.

“As Chair of the Assembly All-Party Group on Cancer, I’m confident the data speaks for itself. When we can see such a clear increase in cases, the time to act is now. We need the Executive to be restored so that we can have a Health Minister who can get to work on addressing this worrying increase in diagnoses.”