Bowel cancer screening

New tool to improve bowel cancer screening accessibility

A new accessibility innovation could be set to boost the uptake of life-saving NHS bowel cancer screening.

As part of a six-month pilot, around 500 people with sight loss will be offered a tool to help them complete faecal immunochemical tests (FIT), which NHS England (NHSE) use to detect signs of bowel cancer.

The FIT aid is an adaptation which makes the standard FIT more accessible with a channel that enables the sample to be guided into the bottle, as well as a stand that holds the FIT tube steady. It also features options for braille instructions, an audio CD, or a link to audio and video instructions.

If the pilot is successful, NHSE says the tool could be rolled out to thousands more across the country.

NHSE worked closely with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Thomas Pocklington Trust during the tool’s development, as well as the supplier, Mast Group.

Andrew Stephenson comment

Steve Russell, national director for vaccinations and screening at NHSE, said: “Our partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Thomas Pocklington Trust, and Mast has been instrumental in developing this tool and is a good example of how the health service is committed to tackling health inequalities for the benefit of all patients.”

CEO at Bowel Cancer UK, Genevieve Edwards, added: “We welcome the testing of the FIT aid tool which should go some way to tackling one of the barriers to bowel cancer screening for people with sight loss, and we look forward to the outcome of the evaluation phase.”

The latest data indicates that the number of checks for bowel and other cancers has topped three million in a year for the first time – more than doubling in the last decade.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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