A WOMAN whose life was saved by a routine bowel screening test is urging others to take up the offer of the free procedure.

Ann Rytel was diagnosed with bowel cancer after completing a test and is calling on people aged 50-74 to take up the offer of a free test.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. About 4000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year.

Mrs Rytel said: "When I first got a letter offering the test, I didn't want to do it. But six weeks later I received a reminder letter, which convinced me to do the test.

"I was asked to do another test because they found blood in the first one."

Further tests revealed she had bowel cancer.

She said: "I will never forget my husband's face. His first wife died of cancer. He put his head in his hands and said 'deja vu'.

"I had the operation two days later and was shown a picture of the tumour once it was removed. It looked as if it was as big as the palm of my hand."

After her operation Mrs Rytel, of Motherwell, received six sessions of chemotherapy. She has now been given the all-clear.

She said: "I stress to everyone how important taking this test is. It doesn't sound very nice and it's not the most pleasant thing to do.

"However, I plead with them as it can save your life. It saved my life: if I had not done the test, I might not be here today."

The national Detect Cancer Early campaign invites all men and women in Scotland aged 50-74 for screening every two years.

stef.lach@ heraldandtimes.co.uk