Over one million people across the UK tuned in to ITV’s Lorraine and saw a live broadcast from St George’s bowel screening team highlighting the importance of screening as part of ITV’s No Butts campaign this Bowel Cancer Awareness Month this morning (Monday 24 April).

St George’s welcomed ITV Lorraine’s resident doctor, Dr Anisha, to the endoscopy unit to speak to the clinical team about the bowel screening programme and why it’s so important people who receive the kit, complete it and send it back.

Dr John Louis-Auguste, Consultant Gastroenterologist at St George’s and Clinical Director for Bowel Screening for South West London, said: “It’s a really easy test to do, but we know that almost one third of the population who are sent one of these kits don’t do the sample and don’t send it in so that means one third of people are potentially missing out on something that could save their lives.”

“We know that some parts of the country are worse than others – London is particularly bad – and we know that men, people from ethnic minorities, people from poorer backgrounds are often less good at sending the tests back. We hear quite a lot, that people say “I don’t have any symptoms, I feel completely fine, I don’t need to do this test” but the message is that you absolutely do need to do this test because this test is specifically designed for people who don’t have symptoms.”

ITV’s Dr Anisha was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2018 and after a series of investigations and treatment, she received the all-clear. During the live broadcast from St George’s, clips were shown from a recent colonoscopy of Dr Anisha’s.

Dr Anisha said: “I wanted to share my procedure because I wanted to take away the fear, stigma, embarrassment that some people feel and that I hear as a doctor of why people may not want to get checked, come forward for their colonoscopy or attend the bowel cancer screening programme.”

She added: “This kit could save your life and it reduces your risk of dying from bowel cancer by 25%. Depending on where you live in the country you may be sent a kit between 50 – 74 years old every two years and it’s vital that we do these kits which is a simple poo test.”

Dr Anisha and Dr John also explained that if a test comes back as ‘positive’ it doesn’t mean you have cancer, but that you may need further investigations and you’ll be supported through the process by a specialist screening nursing team.

Lorraine Kelly, in the studio, said: “The home test kits that we are lucky enough to get in this country are so easy to use, so, so simple. People shouldn’t be put off.”

For more information about bowel screening please read more here. If you are symptomatic, please go and see your GP, and if you receive a bowel screening test kit, then please do the test and send it back, without delay.

This broadcast feature has taken place during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month as part of ITV’s No Butts campaign to raise awareness. You can watch the full feature here (from 29mins40).