Bowel cancer team aim to set up cancer screening programme in Mauritius – North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
Our bowel cancer screening team is heading to Mauritius to help their local government set up a cancer screening programme.
The team was approached by the Government of Mauritius to look at how a bowel screening service can be implemented in the country’s existing facilities.
Clinical director of bowel screening and consultant gastroenterologist Professor Matt Rutter, programme manager Andrew Henson and lead specialist screening practitioner Kelley Williamson make up the North Tees team flying to the island. Alongside a larger team, they run the Tees Screening Centre which provides the NHS bowel cancer screening service for men and women across Teesside and parts of County Durham and North Yorkshire.
Matt was approached by the Republic of Mauritius as they were already aware of the successful programme the Trust has in place.
He said: “The government is asking for guidance on how to set up a screening service. It’ll be a couple of days of discussions and presentations on different elements of our programme – from how we identify the right people to screen to the logistics of FIT (faecal immunochemical test) testing and colonoscopies.
“They want advice on why we do it the way we do and what the options are for them.”
The Republic of Mauritius has funded the trip and Matt, Andrew and Kelley fly out on Friday 9 September to join the Prime Minister of Mauritius and government and health representatives.
They will spent two days at a government-led conference with each member of the team presenting on different elements of the bowel screening programme. They will also spend one day visiting local hospitals to see the how the current endoscopy facilities could be best implemented in a new bowel cancer screening service.
Kelley said: “It’s a great opportunity to be involved in something like this. They haven’t got a screening programme there yet so to be involved in those kinds of discussions early on and to have some influence is really exciting.
“It’s really good for our team as well and we can learn from the experience. When you consider our service, you realise just how much is involved in what we do every day – the different people, the high levels of expertise and how we all work together for the patient.
“You realise how big it is. Day in, day out, it’s a bit of an eye opener.”
Matt, Andrew and Kelly will make up three of six people in the UK attending the event. They will present alongside Dr Sulleman Morea (consultant gastroenterologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) who is leading the project, Sally Benton (director of the South of England Screening Hub) and Professor Eva Morris (professor of health data epidemiology at University of Oxford).
According to a report published by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Mauritius in 2020, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common in women.
A strategic bowel screening programme helps to catch bowel cancer in the early stages when it is most treatable and curable.
Currently in Teesside, everyone aged between 56 and 74 is invited to take part in bowel screening and complete a FIT kit every two years from their home. It is hoped that the test will be extended to include younger age groups in the future.
The Tees-wide screening programme run by the Trust meant that last year, Tees Screening Centre received 72,759 completed kits. 1,632 of these showed blood in the sample, resulting in 97 bowel cancer diagnoses. Cancers detected by screening are frequently easier to treat and cure.
For more information about bowel screening, please call the Tees Screening Centre Helpline on 01642 383981 or 0800 0151 506. More information is also available on our bowel cancer screening page.