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Bowel Cancer Screening Uptake in a Scottish Population

  • HAGIS asked respondents whether they participate in one of Scotland’s major public health interventions – Scottish Bowel Screening Programme for those aged 50+
  • Participation in bowel screening is lower than that for other forms of screening such as breast and cervical cancer
  • The HAGIS data suggest that single males are significantly less likely to participate in bowel screening tests. There are no significant differences in participation rates between men living with a partner and women living either alone or with a partner • Increasing the participation rate of single males to the Scottish average would save around 3.2 lives per year, based on Scottish Government estimates of the effectiveness of the screening programme
  • Uptake is also lower in deprived communities. Raising participation rates in the most deprived quartile of Scottish households to the average for Scotland as a whole would save around the same number of lives as raising the participation rates of single men • Whether those eligible for screening live in cities or rural areas does not seem to affect response rates. This is not surprising given that bowel screening is conducted by post. Screening that requires attendance at NHS premises may be less attractive to rural dwellers
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