THE MP for Torfaen has spoken of his support for the Welsh Government’s plan to lower the bowel cancer screening age to 50.

MP Nick Thomas-Symonds lost his mum, Pam Symonds, to bowel cancer on New Year’s Day and has campaigned for lowering the age since.

Vaughan Gething AM, cabinet secretary for health and social services, said that the Welsh Government will be reducing the screening age for bowel cancer to 50, from 60, as soon as possible, following news that the age of screenings in England will also be lowered.

MP Thomas-Symonds said: “Having lost my beloved mother Pam to bowel cancer on New Year’s Day, I know the impact this terrible disease can have on families.

“We know that catching it early is a key factor in how effective treatment can be.

“I’ve supported lowering the age for bowel cancer screening tests to 50 because it gives so many people a better chance of the disease being detected early and treated successfully, so they can live longer, healthier, happier lives.

“I very much welcome the announcement by the Welsh Government of an ambition to reduce the screening age.”

The change would bring Wales in line with Scotland where bowel screening is automatically offered from 50.

MP Nick Thomas-Symonds tweeted: “The ambition to reduce the bowel cancer screening age to 50 in England and Wales is great news.

“Great to have worked with Bowel Cancer UK on this and thank you to all MPs who contributed to my debate on bowel cancer screening in May.”

In May, the MP addressed peers in the House of Commons in a debate on the subject.

He said: “Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. Sadly, around 16,000 people die from the disease each year.

“It is estimated that between now and 2035, around 332,000 more lives could be taken by this awful condition. Nearly everyone will survive bowel cancer if it detected at its earliest stage, but unfortunately only 15 per cent of bowel cancer patients fall into that category.””