A NEW, extended bowel cancer screening programme has now fully rolled out in Dorset meaning the death rate from this disease could drop in the county.

The extended Dorset Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (DBSCP) offers all men and women aged 55 a complimentary one-off bowel scope at all GP practices in Dorset.

Research has shown that people who participate in bowel scope screening will reduce their risk of dying from bowel cancer by a third.

A study by Cancer Research UK suggests that more than 90 per cent of patients will live for more than five years if diagnosed early. The initiative was first introduced at Poole Hospital in 2015 and is the first of its kind in the Wessex region and the second in the south of England.

The programme helps prevent bowel cancer by diagnosing people who have developed bowel polyps and then removing them - stopping the progression of these sometimes cancerous growths.

The new test compliments the already established DBSCP, in which testing kits are sent out to people aged 60-74 years.

Whilst the programme is based at Poole Hospital, there are satellite screening sites at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals, Dorset County Hospital, Wimborne’s Victoria Hospital, and Swanage Community Hospital.

Programme clinical director Sally Parry said described it as a 'fantastic achievement'.

“We are proud to be one of the first centres in the south of England to have completed the roll out and we’re confident it will have a positive effect," she said.

Every GP practice in the county is linked to the roll out so every person aged 55 in Dorset will have an invitation to have a bowel scope, she said.