COMMUNITY leaders are launching a new scheme to raise awareness of bowel cancer in a Hampshire town.

The Primary Care Network in Eastleigh, consisting of St Andrews, Boyatt Wood, Archers and Parkside practices have recently highlighted that bowel cancer screening take up and early detection in the area is lower than others.

According to data from Public Health England, the central Eastleigh area is falling behind on screening take up by an average of 7 percent for the latest six and 30 month periods compared to the wider NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Now though, Eastleigh Borough Council is teaming up with the Network to increase awareness of symptoms and urging residents to take up screening.

The campaign will run throughout April, bowel cancer awareness month, and will be mainly aimed at people aged 60-74 who are invited by the NHS to complete a home screening kit.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer for both men and women in the UK and the second most fatal and the council say it is key that residents complete home screening and recognise symptoms to allow for early detection.

A council spokesperson said: "The PCN and the Council urge residents to complete and return their home screening tests as soon as possible and don’t hesitate to see your GP if your noticing symptoms.

"Start the conversation and ensure your loves ones aged 60-74 don’t ignore their latest invite for screening and are aware of the symptoms - early detection saves lives."

A bowel cancer screening kit aimed at people with no symptoms is sent out to all people aged between 60-74 every two years.