To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government is taking to improve bowel cancer awareness and early diagnosis among men.
Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer is a key element of the "Cancer Reform Strategy" (copies of which have already been placed in the Library). Through the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, we will be taking forward work to improve awareness of the signs and symptoms of all cancers, including bowel cancer, among men and women. As part of this work, we will be working to support local interventions to increase cancer symptom awareness and encourage early presentation. We are currently investing in the Improvement Foundation's pilot work to develop and test methods of raising awareness of bowel, breast and lung cancers in 20 of the most deprived areas in the country.
Through section 64, we are currently funding a Men's Health Forum project which aims to increase bowel cancer screening awareness and uptake by men.
The Department has worked with health professionals, patient groups and the voluntary sector to develop standardised messages for bowel cancer. Work to update the messages will be commencing shortly.
In addition, from 2010, the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme will be extended to men and women aged 70 to 75. We are currently piloting the extension in five pilot sites, and an evaluation of this will inform the national roll-out of the extension.