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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian presses Prime Minister on bowel cancer screening

May 23, 2018

Julian today urged Theresa May to ensure the government listens to calls to lower the screening age for bowel cancer from 60 to 50 during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Bowel cancer is responsible for the deaths of some 16,000 people a year, and is the fourth-most common cancer in the UK. If detected early on it can be effectively treated, with patients making a full recovery, which means having the right provision for early diagnosis is very important.

The government has agreed to roll-out the new FIT (faecal immunochemical testing for haemoglobin) test, which is expected this autumn, and the UK National Screening Committee has been charged with recommending what age FIT screening should start at.

In the House of Commons Julian asked

Bowel cancer claims the lives of over 44 people every day, and has a devastating impact on families up and down the country, but it can be beaten if caught at the earliest stage through better diagnosis. So can the Prime Minister therefore assure me that the government will listen to proposals to lower the screening age from 60 to 50?”

In her response, Theresa May said that we now have the highest ever cancer survival rates, but noted: “there is still more to be done, and he’s absolutely right that early diagnosis is an important element of that.

What we are doing is looking at how the development of smart technologies, which allow us to analyse great quantities of data quickly and with a higher degree of accuracy than through the intervention of human beings, can be used to ensure that we get that earlier diagnosis, and we want to see by 2033 at least 50,000 more people each year being diagnosed at an early stage of prostate, ovarian, lung or bowel cancer”.

After Prime Minister’s Questions Julian said: “I was glad to hear that the government is focusing on using new technology to make bowel cancer testing faster and more accurate, so we can catch this disease sooner.

It is vital that this screening is carried out at the right time, and I will continue to back calls for a lower screening age as the best way to give greater security and peace of mind to families across the country”.


To watch a video of the question please click here