A new technique to detect bowel cancer is to be trialled in parts of Scotland, it has been announced.
About 20,000 patients from the Tayside, Fife, Grampian and Glasgow health board areas will be offered scope screening which detects polyps in the bowel that could eventually become cancerous.
“If it demonstrates that people are willing to engage with scope screening it could see the test offered more widely as part of our screening programme”
Scope screening uses a tube with a tiny camera on the end that allows medics to see the lower part of the large bowel.
Samples are taken if they identify any abnormal areas, with the whole procedure lasting about 15 minutes.
Men and women around the age of 60 will be invited to take part in the bowel scope screening and it could be rolled out across the country if the trial is successful, the Scottish government said. Scope screening has had similar trials in the rest of the UK.
Bowel cancer is Scotland’s third most common cancer, with almost 4,000 people diagnosed every year.
Men and women are at risk and it is more common in people over the age of 55, according to figures.
The new test will be used as well as the current bowel screening programme and home screening kits will still be distributed.
The results of the trial will be analysed and a decision made on whether to extend it across Scotland.
Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said: “We know that nine out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer if it isdetected early.
“What’s more, bowel cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, especially when it’s caught early, and screening helps us to do exactly that.
“That is why the Scottish government is supporting wider use of this test and if it demonstrates that people are willing to engage with scope screening it could see the test offered more widely as part of our screening programme.”