A Horsham bowel cancer survivor is urging fellow residents to complete screening tests after early diagnosis saved his life.
This year is the tenth anniversary of the NHS screening. As part of the programme test kits are posted automatically to all UK residents registered with a GP once they reach the age of 60.
When Steve Lewis from Southwater, near Horsham, turned 60 last year, he says his life was as near to perfect as possible.
Then he received the invitation to take part in the screening programme.
A couple of weeks later and with a bit of a nudge from his wife he completed the samples and sent them off.
The tests were abnormal and within weeks he discovered he had bowel cancer.
Steve had surgery to remove the affected part of the bowel and was fitted with a temporary stoma bag. He was told that the cancer has been caught at an early stage and indications were that the surgery had removed it. There was no need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy and Steve is readjusting to life back to where it was before surgery.
He said: “I don’t know who posted my invitation, what I do know is it saved my life.
“I hadn’t had a single symptom, so when the screening test came through the door I never thought it would show anything.
“The test couldn’t be more quick and simple to do.
“While it may sound a bit embarrassing or unpleasant, it’s so important to put aside a few minutes to do the test even if you feel fit and healthy, because the test can detect cancer at an early stage before any symptoms are visible. Completing and returning your kit as quickly as possible is crucial as any delay could be life-threatening.”
The current FOB screening test will be replaced over the next two years with the new Faecal Immunochemical Test which is easier to use and more accurate.