Monthly Archives: April 2016

Don’t throw your health away – make sure you use your bowel cancer screening kit

Have you been sent a bowel cancer screening kit in the post? If so, please don’t throw it in the bin – you could be throwing away your chance to live a happy and healthy life.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, with around 40,000 people diagnosed every year.

NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group is calling for people to make use of the kits which screen for symptoms of the disease so they can get treatment early.

Men and women aged between 60 and 74, who are registered with a GP surgery, are sent a bowel cancer screening kit in the post every two years. This involves a simple test that can be done in their own home, which aims to detect possible early signs of bowel cancer before symptoms develop.

Recipients are asked to take stool samples, using the kit provided, which are returned by mail and analysed for traces of blood – a possible early sign of bowel cancer. If the samples show cause for concern, further action can be taken, including any necessary treatment.

However, a relatively low number of screening kits sent out are returned, with many ending up in the bin.

If the condition is caught early, bowel cancer treatment has a high success rate. But the NHS needs your help to make sure you have the best possible chance to beat this form of cancer – by using the screening kit.

So if you have thrown yours away, please call the Bowel Cancer Screening Hub on 0800 707 6060 to get a replacement.

Dr Raj Thakkar, NHS Chiltern CCG’s Clinical Commissioning Director for Planned Care, said: “It is understandable that some people might feel a bit embarrassed or uncomfortable about using these screening kits, but they really need to think twice before throwing the kit away. Bowel cancer screening kits are very effective, and there are good outcomes for most
patients when we catch this condition in time. It really is vital that eligible people make use of them.

“When people discard these kits, they actually risk discarding their own lives. Embarrassment is no reason to throw away your health, so if you are sent a kit, please use it. And if you have thrown one away, then please call the number below for another.

“We want you to support you to lead healthy, happy lives for as long as possible, but we need your help to do that.”

While the screening programme targets people aged 60 – 74, people aged 75 and over can also request a screening kit by calling the bowel screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.

Remember also that taking some simple steps to improve diet and staying active can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. Aim to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, make sure you eat plenty of fibre. Also, avoid processed meats and have no more than 500g of red meat per week.

For more information about bowel cancer visit NHS Choices.

Further information from Cancer Research UK.

Be sure about your sexual health: new service launches across Buckinghamshire

A new service providing free and confidential sexual health advice and treatment across the county launches this month

bSHaW – Buckinghamshire Sexual Health and Wellbeing – has been commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council and will help people with both contraception and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

It will be provided by Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’€™s leading HIV and sexual health charity; working together to offer all Buckinghamshire residents easy access to free and confidential local sexual health services.

As with current sexual health services, the bSHaW service will be completely confidential, with friendly and sensitive staff who understand that people using it may be anxious or nervous. To use the service, people can either make an appointment or attend a walk-in-and-wait clinic.

There are also special clinics dedicated to treating young people under 25 years, with a new programme called Young and Free to encourage all young people who are sexually active to get tested for chlamydia every year and/or at every change of sexual partner.  Young people are also able to order an online test kit if they would prefer not to attend a clinic.

Information on this and all other sexual health services in Bucks can be found at

Martin Phillips, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, who awarded the bSHaW contracts after a tendering process last year, said: “Both Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and the Terrence Higgins Trust have worked with us previously in providing sexual health services. They will continue to provide these services but, by working even more closely together, will be able to give people a more seamless experience with an easier, single point of access for all their sexual health needs. I know that under these new contracts they will ensure that bSHaW is a comprehensive quality service for all residents, with a special focus on the health and wellbeing of our young people.”

Dr Graz Luzzi, Consultant in Genitourinary and HIV Medicine at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are excited to have this opportunity to build on the strengths of our existing sexual health service and, in partnership with Terrence Higgins Trust , create this new, easy to access, local service to help improve sexual health and wellbeing across the county”.

Sue Peters, Terrence Higgins Trust Regional Manager South said: “Sexual health is an important part of the public health agenda and sexual health services are absolutely vital for everyone. We will provide a local, non-judgemental, confidential service to all who need it, and we would like to encourage anyone who is sexually active to make use of the service”.

Remember – there is only ONE YOU

A major health campaign is determined to remind people how important it is to keep themselves fit and healthy -€“ because there is only ONE YOU.

By the time we reach our 40’€™s and 50’€™s many of us will have increased our risk of contracting diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and increased our increased our risk of suffering a stroke.

It’€™s not just our age and our genes that make us more susceptible to disease -€“ but our lifestyles. Around 70% of disease is related directly to how we live our lives in our adult years.

Whether we are eating the wrong things too much or too often..or drinking more than we should..or that we continue to smoke despite everything we know..or that we are just not being active enough.all these small things can add up, creating a huge influence on our health.

Taking the time to make sure we stay healthy and live well is not always easy -€“ not when there are children to look after, jobs to do, households to run, and often elderly parents or relatives to care for.

The good news is that it’s never too late to make a difference -€“ and the ONE YOU campaign want to help you to do just that. We know that changes to the way we live, no matter how old we are can dramatically reduce our risk factors, as well as help us get more out of life.

But we know it isn’€™t easy. Unhealthy habits creep into our adults lives almost unseen and it is difficult to know where and how to fight back.

Find out more information on local services that can help make a difference to you.

Why not start a conversation with yourself and use the ‘€˜how are you?‘€˜ quiz – this is a quick test to see how you are doing and help you see where (and how) you could maybe make some changes.