Local Lanarkshire people are gearing up to help NHS Lanarkshire champion the cause of bowel screening.
NHS Lanarkshire held a focus group event to ask members of the public what would encourage them to take part in the national Bowel Screening programme which starts in Lanarkshire in August this year.
Bowel screening will help prevent against bowel cancer which is the second biggest cancer killer in Scotland.
A range of communication formats were put to the 22 participants for their views and opinions, and the idea which proved the most popular was using local volunteers to act as Bowel Screening champions within their own communities.
A number of participants on the day put themselves forward as local champions and more will now be recruited over the comings weeks and months. They will support NHS Lanarkshire’s team of specialist colorectal (bowel cancer) nurses who have already started taking the screening message to the public.
Anne Muir from Blackwood was one of those at the focus group who put herself forward.
She said: “It was great to attend an event where everyone was happy to talk about what can sometimes be a taboo subject.
“There is plenty of material which tells you how to do the screening test, but it was helpful to get an explanation from someone.
“As such, many of us were happy to take up NHS Lanarkshire’s offer to become champions to explain to others in our community how to do the test.”
The volunteers will be given training and information to allow them to discuss the screening process at events and venues such as local bowling clubs, church fetes, small community events, community councils, tenants groups, as well as one to one chats with friends, colleagues and neighbours.
Sheena Kilpatrick, NHS Lanarkshire’s Head of Cancer Services, said: “It’s fantastic that members of the public have put themselves forward to help us promote this important programme.
“We want to encourage Lanarkshire residents to do the test when the kits start to arrive at their home from August.
“If bowel cancer is detected early enough through screening, there is a 90 per cent chance of treating the disease successfully.”
If you would like to become an NHS Lanarkshire Bowel Cancer Screening champion, contact NHS Lanarkshire communications officer Eddie Docherty on 01698 245 242 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about bowel cancer visit http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/
For more information on the screening initiative starting in Lanarkshire from August, visit http://www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk