PERFORMANCE: The primary care trust said just over half the people sent self screening kits for bowel cancer in 2010 returned them to the PCT for assessment.

Like PCT areas in the rest of England, 60 to 69-year-olds in Medway are sent home testing kits every two years as part of the national bowel cancer screening programme.

According to latest figures released by the PCT to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April, 52.9 per cent of people in Medway who were sent the home screening kits in 2010 carried out the tests, a total of more than 9,209 people.

Of these, 21 people had a positive cancer diagnosis – just 0.2 per cent of the total number screened.

Dr Alison Barnett, director of public health for Medway, said: “The number of people being diagnosed with bowel cancer at a much earlier stage in Medway has increased, thanks to the screening programme.”