CALLS are being made for people to attend their bowel cancer screenings.
It comes as figures show Portsmouth has one of the lowest uptake percentages across the south.
Charity Bowel Cancer UK said people are putting their lives at risk by ignoring their screening tests which could pick up early signs of the illness.
The data, released this month by the charity, showed the area covered by Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had a screening uptake of 55 per cent – joint third lowest across Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Thames Valley.
Southampton had the same percentage while south Reading CCG had an uptake of 51 per cent and Slough CCG had the worst of just 42 per cent.
Meanwhile, the area of south eastern Hampshire CCG had an update of 63 per cent while Fareham and Gosport CCG has a percentage uptake of 65 per cent – the best in the area covered by The News and the third highest across the region.
West Hampshire CCG and Wokingham CCG were joint highest with 67 per cent uptake.
The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and there is a greater chance of survival.
Anyone registered with a GP and aged 60 to 74, will receive a test in the post every two years.
The test can be done at home and comes with step-by-step instructions.
It looks for hidden blood in faeces, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.
Deborah Alsina, chief executive for Bowel Cancer UK, said: ‘It’s quite simple, bowel cancer screening saves lives.
‘I would encourage everyone who’s over 60 to take the test, and for those who are younger to encourage their loved ones over 60 to complete it.
‘It could save yours or your loved ones life.
‘Bowel Cancer UK joined with Beating Bowel Cancer to create a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer.
‘We’re determined to save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by the disease. Taking part in screening is the best way to get diagnosed early when treatment is more likely to be successful.’
Derek Gillard, from Hayling Island, knows how important the Bowel Cancer Screening is. It was through the test that his cancer was diagnosed.
He was operated on using the Da Vinci robot at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, last year.
To say thanks, he and the Hayling Island Lions raised £2,000.
Speaking at the time of handing over the cheque, Mr Gillard said: ‘
Speaking after the operation Mr Gillard said: ‘Yes, it can be embarrassing but it is so important.
‘I had no symptoms before and yet I had bowel cancer.
‘Within eight weeks I was being referred for an operation so it was detected before it got really bad.
‘It is so important for people to do the free tests.’