MORE than half of people in Newport have not taken part in a simple bowel cancer screening test that could save their lives.

The most recent figures show, in some areas of Newport, fewer than 40 per cent of people sent the free screening kits - which are delivered to everyone aged 60 to 74 every two years - are carrying out the tests.

As a result, Bowel Cancer UK and Bowel Screening Wales have teamed up to provide information and the tests to increase the uptake.


Community outreach officer for Bowel Cancer UK, Jane Metcalfe said: "Bowel Cancer UK and Bowel Screening Wales have chosen to work together to increase the number of people who take part in screening in areas where screening uptake is low. We have chosen to focus our work in Newport because of the low uptake rates in the area, which are currently at less than 40 per cent in some parts of the city.”

Ms Metcalfe has been out and about in Newport delivering talks on the free test and encouraging communities to be aware of the benefits of taking part in the screening.

She said: “The test is completed in the privacy of your own bathroom, only requires one sample and your results will be posted to you, usually within two weeks.”

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and it is the second biggest cancer killer. Around 2,200 people will be diagnosed in Wales each year and more than 900 of those will die from the disease.

The disease is curable however, if it is caught.

Ms Metcalfe said: “Nearly everyone will survive bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage. However, only around 15 per cent of people are diagnosed at this early stage. This is due to poor participation in the current screening programme, inadequate diagnostic capacity and a lack of awareness of symptoms. That’s why knowledge of bowel cancer symptoms and completing the free test when it’s available to you is so important.”

Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your stomach


Most of the time, these symptoms are the result of other health conditions, but it is advisable to see a GP if any of these symptoms are present.

According to a Bowel Cancer UK survey last year, 35 per cent of people are unaware of the symptoms of bowel cancer. The survey showed that 45 per cent of men in the UK did not know the signs of the cancer.

During 2017-18, 221 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer as a result of Bowel Screening Wales’ tests, and polyps were removed from 1,216 people.

Anyone who wants to know more about the screening, or are part of a community that may benefit from the talk, contact Ms Metcalfe at or call 07496857327.

Bowel cancer screening tests for people aged between 60 and 74 can be ordered by calling the free helpline on 0800 294 3370 or by ordering online.