HEALTH chiefs are urging people in Swindon to return their bowel cancer screening test kits to ensure cases of the potentially life-threatening disease are picked up early.

Consultants at the Great Western Hospital as well the NHS England Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire Screening and Immunisation Team are concerned that not enough people are taking up their invitation to be tested.

Only 40 per cent of people aged between 60 and 74 eligible for the programme returned their kits last year.

Bowel cancer is currently the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths.

About one in 20 people will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime with over 16,000 people dying from it a year.

However over 90 per cent of those diagnosed with early stage bowel cancers are successfully treated.