Some services in our NHS had to be put on hold when all the resources were being diverted to fighting the pandemic. But they are now coming back, slowly but surely. One of those is the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. Because of my age, I was invited to take part, and when I agreed, they sent me a home test kit.
It is not the most pleasant thing to have to do, even though it is painless, and non-invasive. Basically, you have to poo into a container that you provide yourself. (A disposable one of course) Then you take a small stick from the plastic vial you have been sent, and rub it around your ‘deposit’ until the marked area is covered. Then it is put back into the vial, secured in its transit envelope, and posted back (free of charge) to the testing centre.
As with any test, the wait can be worrying. If they discover something amiss, it will mean a procedure where a large tube is inserted into your bowel, via your bum of course! That initial test might be followed by scans, or other procedures deemed necessary.
My result came back in the post today, after a week. I was very happy to get the all-clear, and require no more testing at the moment. They will send me another test kit in two years from now.
Such screening programmes are worth participating in. They are catching potentially fatal diseases before they have had time to take a hold on your body, and reducing the need for subsequent surgery and other therapies. And they are free too.
Yet again, I have to say we are lucky to have the NHS.