Published: 16/09/2016 10:12 - Updated: 01/10/2016 15:49

This simple test could save your life

Liz Harris with comedian Fred MacAaulay with whom she made a short video to promote the importance of doing your bowel screening test.
Liz Harris with comedian Fred MacAaulay with whom she made a short video to promote the importance of doing your bowel screening test.

THE bowel movement is sweeping Scotland with more than 500,000 people doing their bowel screening test every year.

Although the figure is higher than ever before, the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early campaign is targeting those who put off taking the test, in a bid to save more lives.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland, but it is the most treatable, and can often be cured, if found early.

Statistics show that the likelihood of surviving bowel cancer is 14 times higher if detected at an early stage compared to a late stage, and the bowel screening test – offered to people aged 50 to 74 – remains the most effective way of finding the disease early.

One woman who is thankful for doing her test is Liz Harris (64) from Rutherglen, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2014.

The mother of three, who has since been successfully treated, has shared her experience in a bid to encourage those who put off taking the test not to delay doing it.

Liz routinely returned her bowel screening test in October 2014 and was then asked to re-take it as the result wasn’t conclusive. She had no worries at that stage, as she wasn’t experiencing any symptoms.

Following a colonoscopy and a CT scan, Liz was told she had bowel cancer and went through surgery in January 2015 where a tumour was removed from her bowel.

Liz has recently received the all-clear and credits this to her cancer being found early through screening.

Speaking about her experience, Liz said: “I have recovered well since the operation and I am feeling great. I have been walking daily and taking exercise classes to keep fit.

“I’m a very positive person and although the last year or so hasn’t been the easiest, I’m just so glad it was found early and I can now look forward to spending time with my children and grandchildren.”

To encourage others to join the bowel movement, Liz teamed up with comedian Fred MacAulay – an advocate of bowel screening – to make a short video highlighting the importance of doing your bowel test.

Liz said: “I’m happy to do anything to raise awareness of the bowel screening test as it saved my life. It’s not pleasant but it takes minutes and is done in the privacy of your own bathroom. I think everyone who is eligible should take up the offer of bowel screening.”

Fred MacAulay, who also stars in the Detect Cancer Early TV advert, added: “It was great meeting Liz and speaking to her about her experience. Because of screening, she has been diagnosed early, successfully treated, and can get on with the rest of her life.

“I do my test every two years and personally think the screening we’re offered in this country is a great thing. I’d encourage everyone who is invited to take the test.”

For more information on bowel screening, visit

To watch what happened when Fred surprised Liz at home, visit

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