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Colorectal Cancer: Screening

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many faecal occult blood testing kit samples have been (a) returned to and (b) analysed by each of the five national bowel cancer screening programme hubs; (129128)

(2) how many people in England have been invited to participate in the national bowel cancer screening programme; and how many have been sent a home testing kit by each of the five national bowel cancer screening programme hubs;

(3) how many local bowel cancer screening centres have begun providing endoscopy services for patients who have had a positive faecal occult blood test result;

(4) how many bowel cancers have been diagnosed through the national bowel cancer screening programme;

(5) when each of the five national bowel cancer screening programme hubs began operation;

As at 16 March 2007, the national health service bowel cancer screening programme had sent out 128,993 invitations for screening. Invitations are sent out one week before the testing kits, and people can opt out of receiving a testing kit if they wish.

110,608 faecal occult blood testing kits had been sent out, and 57,280 had been returned and analysed at the five programme hubs. 1,003 positive results had been recorded, and 92 cancers diagnosed. 292 patients were diagnosed with polyps which may have developed into cancer over time. Treating these polyps has reduced their risk of bowel cancer.

The five programme hubs which began operations are shown in the table.

Programme hub

Date began operations

West Midlands and North West (Rugby)

April 2006

Southern (Guildford)

September 2006

London (St. Mark's, Harrow)

October 2006

North East (Gateshead)

February 2007

Eastern (Nottingham)

March 2007

15 local screening centres are now operational and are shown in the table.

Local screening centre

Date began operations

Wolverhampton

July 2006

Norwich

July 2006

Liverpool

September 2006

South Devon

September 2006

St. Mark’s, Harrow

October 2006

South West London

November 2006

Gloucestershire

January 2007

Bolton

February 2007

South Tyne

February 2007

Tees

February 2007

Hull

February 2007

Heart of England

March 2007

Inner North East London

March 2007

University college London

March 2007

Derbyshire

March 2007

It is hoped a sixteenth centre will open before the end of March 2007. This will be confirmed if and when quality and capacity criteria have been satisfied.