Senior citizens from across Bucks are being encouraged to use a bowel cancer screening kit which is due to be posted this month as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
NHS Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups are calling for people in the county to use the screening kits, which are sent out every two years to people aged between 60 and 74 who are registered with a GP Surgery.
The test can be done in your own home and can detect possible early signs of bowel cancer before symptoms develop.
Recipients use the kit to take a stool sample, then return it in the post.
It is then analysed and further action can be taken if there is any cause for concern.
In Bucks, around 59% of those sent a kit return it.
Although this figure is slightly above the national average the CCG say it is still not high enough, and that too many kits end up in the bin.
Embarrassment is believed to be one of the main reasons for this.
Dr Raj Thakkar, Clinical Commissioning Director for Planned Care for the CCGs, said: “Bowel cancer can be very treatable if it is caught early, and the key to doing that is by screening.
“It is quick, simple and can flag up potentially serious problems that would otherwise go unnoticed.
“Quite simply, these little kits can mean the difference between life and death.
“Neglecting your health out of embarrassment or worry could have terrible consequences, so please, when you are sent a kit, use it.
“And if you have older relatives or loved ones, please remind them to use theirs.”
People aged 75 and over can request a screening kit by calling the bowel screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.
Anyone who has thrown a kit away can also order a new one on that number.