Pilot bowel cancer testing programme begins for the over 55s

The pilot phase of the bowel cancer test being introduced by the health ministry began on Tuesday in the Zuidwest-Nederland region.

During this week, 2,500 people in the region will receive a letter with the test package by post.

The test, based on a small sample of faeces, will be introduced for everyone aged 55 to 75 in January 2014.

‘In this pilot phase we are testing the organisational and technical elements,’ Harriët van Veldhuizen, programme leader at the pubhlic health institute RIVM, told the Volkskrant. ‘We don’t want any surprises when we launch the test nationally.’

The test package is contained in a purple envelop. The recipient is asked to send a small sample of their faeces for testing. Two weeks later, they receive the results and, where necessary, an invitation for further tests.

The early testing will eventually prevent 2,400 deaths a year, the RIVM estimates.


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