EAST Renfrewshire residents who put off doing their bowel screening test are being reminded of its importance.

Organisers of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month have revealed that more people than ever before are doing the test in Scotland - almost 580,000 were completed and returned in 2016.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland and the early signs are often hidden.

The bowel screening test – offered to everyone in East Renfrewshire aged between 50 and 74 every two years – remains the most effective way of finding the disease early, when the likelihood of survival is 14 times higher.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “It’s encouraging to see the large number of people that are completing and returning their bowel screening tests, as bowel cancer is treatable and can often be cured if found early.

“However, there are still many people who are put off by the test or simply don’t get around to completing it. We know it’s not the nicest thing to do but it could save your life.

“I hope the awareness generated during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month spurs people of screening age to act or reminds those who have mislaid the test to request a replacement.”

Emma Anderson, of Bowel Cancer UK, added: “It’s quite simple - bowel cancer screening saves lives.

“I would encourage everyone who is over 50 to take the test and for those who are younger to encourage their loved ones who are over 50 to complete it.”

For more information or to find out how to request a replacement test, visit getcheckedearly.org