A new bowel cancer screening programme is to be launched in Scotland in the new year, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
More than 700,000 people will have the opportunity to use the scheme, which is estimated to save about 150 lives per year.
A pilot programme in NHS Highland screened close to 57% of people aged 50 to 74, against a target of 60%, and screening kits for the whole country will be posted annually from 2010.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Bowel cancer remains one of Scotland’s biggest cancer killers but if it’s caught early it can be very successfully treated.
“Simply by using this easy, pain-free test in private at home and following up with any necessary treatment, around 150 lives a year could be saved.”
About 3,400 people are diagnosed with the disease every year, and one survivor urged people to seize this opportunity to get help sooner.
Giving his name only as Alan, he said: “Screening’s important. If people get screened right away they can save themselves, they can save their lives.
“If they wait too long it might be too late. As far as I’m concerned it’s really so important to get the test and do it right away.”