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Digital supports bowel cancer screening

Software developed and supported by the NHS Wales Informatics Service is supporting the Public Health Wales bowel screening programme, which has launched a new campaign with Bowel Cancer UK to encourage more eligible people to take the test.

Currently, just over one in two eligible people in Wales take the test, recent data has revealed. Taking part in screening can reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer, with patients nine times more likely to survive bowel cancer if it is found early.

The Bowel Screening Information Management System (BSIMS) is a secure web application that supports the whole screening process, by selecting people from the Welsh population for screening. People aged 60 to 74 years old are eligible for the free NHS bowel screening test every two years. 

Eligible people invited for screening are sent the home screening kit in the post which is returned and tested in NHS Wales laboratories. The labs use BSIMS to keep track of the kits, record the results and produce results letters. Anyone with a positive screening result is referred for further investigations and assessment by Specialist Screening Practitioners. BSIMS supports this process with a clinic booking module and provides a diary and online assessment form for specialist screening practitioners.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer of men and women in Wales. Bowel screening detects bowel cancer at an early stage, often when there are no symptoms, and yet when treatment is most effective.

The bowel screening software developed in Wales is also used in Northern Ireland.

You can find out more about bowel screening by visiting