Cancer is a worldwide nightmare and has claimed so many lives. Late diagnosis is one of the factors that make cancer cases untreatable or rather uncontrollable. Think of the joy one would get if they were able to detect ailments before they got worse. It would be great. A bowel cancer self-test kit has just brought us closer to a miracle.
Nottinghamshire is one of the many counties leading in the use of FIT- Faecal Immunochemical Tests. Wendy Lyons, one of the residents is a living testimony of how a bowel cancer self-testing kit helped her self-diagnose.
Miss Lyons initially thought that at her 46 years of age, was just undergoing menopause when she experienced pain and constant headaches. Her general practitioner at first said it was unlikely to be any form of cancer but still administered the test just as a precaution measure.
The test turned out to be positive which is not usually good news but the upside was that her cancer was detected early and commenced treatment. She was able to avoid the problems of accelerated cancer serious side effects that may have resulted from her operation and chemotherapy as well.
She expressed her gratitude to NHS for the FIT test saying she felt like the luckiest cancer survivor. She says the bowel cancer self-test will go a long way for a novice user.
Nottinghamshire’s CCGs- Clinical commissioning groups first offered self –tests in 2017. These tests were issued to patients who exhibited symptoms and signs of bowel cancer like lumps or blood stains in their feces. Each test per person costs NHS-National Health Service £15 which is cheaper compared to colonoscopy which costs £ 400. Everyone over the age of 60 in Nottinghamshire has received the test as a national screening program initiative.
Doctors in Nottinghamshire say that the test recommendation is not limited to the older generation. Anyone who has shown signs or suspects they may be at risk can have the test regardless of their age.
According to a Nottingham general practitioner Ayan Banerjea- a bowel cancer specialist says that in most cases doctors are reluctant to recommend or administer colonoscopies unless in unavoidable circumstances.
Using the kit individuals are able to collect samples of their feces and send to a laboratory. The laboratory will proceed to look for blood strains or spots present and assess if the blood spots could be a sign of cancer or rather caused by cancer.
Although a vital part in the cancer field, very few institutions and hospitals have adopted the mechanism. Some hospitals in Leicester and Hertford have tried it but most are still waiting to see where the approach is going and how well it will perform.
Bowel cancer has been named the fourth most common type of cancer in the United Kingdom. It became known and popular after Jeremy Bowen- a famous BBC journalist was diagnosed. In general this trend has encouraged specialists to be more thorough with testing and screening; as a result, more cancers are being diagnosed at an early stage.
Wendy Lyons a mother to three children was able to pick her cancer at an early stage and as a result avoided the issues that come with dealing with treating cancer at advanced stages. Clearly the self-test kit is an easy to use device that does not require medical expertise to operate. Therefore, it is vital for everyone who would like to take initiative and be responsible for their own health.
Specialists for obvious reasons ranging from costs to procedural implications may be reluctant to recommend a colonoscopy and this is where the kit steps in to bridge the gap. Since the self-test kit gets the job done, then we don’t have an excuse; at the end of the day safety and efficacy are very important to our health.
- Bowel cancer: Self-testing kit ‘saved my life’
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