South Antrim MLA Pam Brown has called for the age range for bowel cancer screening to be extended.
Speaking during an Assembly debate, Ms Brown said with early detection bowel cancer can be easily and effectively treated.
“The aim of the screening programme is to detect the early stages of bowel cancer before any symptoms have developed. The early detection of bowel cancer has provided a 90% success rate in treatment and recovery from the disease. The existing screening programme has been invaluable in reducing deaths from Bowel cancer and I would encourage everyone who has been sent a kit to complete the test,” Ms Brown said.
She added: “With 95% of cases of Bowel cancer found in the over 50s I will continue to lobby the Department of Health to widen the screening from those aged 60-74 to include people aged between 50 and 59.
“It is vital that everyone who receives the kit completes the test and is screened for the early signs. I also would encourage anyone who has symptoms which can include rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits and abdominal pain to see their GP immediately; this is not something to be embarrassed by and could save your life.”