Former Wakefield Mayor and wife who fought same cancer in plea over test

Brigid and David Hopkins
Brigid and David Hopkins

A COUPLE who were both diagnosed with the UK’s second biggest cancer killer after taking part in a screening programme are urging people to take the test.

Former Mayor of Wakefield David Hopkins, 80, and his wife Brigid, 72, have teamed up with national charity Bowel Cancer UK to encourage people to take part in the screening programme as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

Mrs Hopkins said: “I had been taking part in the programme for about six years and it was my third test in 2014 which identified a possible problem.

“This was quickly followed up and within five weeks I had completed all the additional tests and had my surgery. Two years later, I continue to be followed up and reassured that I remain free from bowel cancer.”

After his wife’s experience, Mr Hopkins requested a test and was also diagnosed with bowel cancer. Mr Hopkins, who stepped down as Conservative councillor for Wakefield South last May after 17 years, underwent keyhole surgery just a few weeks after his diagnosis. Mr Hopkins, who served as Mayor of Wakefield in 2005, is cancer free and continues to be under regular surveillance.

Mrs Hopkins said: “I would urge everyone who is eligible to take part in the screening programme, to make sure they complete the test. David and I have both been very lucky and I’d like to encourage everyone to take the test. I beg everyone not to ignore them. It is so simple and could save your life.” More than 44 people die from bowel cancer every day in the UK, it’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer.

More than 44 people die from bowel cancer every day in the UK, it’s the nation’s second biggest cancer killer. However, it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. Taking part in the screening programme is the best way to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Figures from Public Health England in 2015/16 show that just 57 per cent of people living in Wakefield who received the free bowel cancer screening test in the post, actually completed it.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat.

If you’re registered with a GP and aged 60-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions.

Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “One in 14 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive, however this drops significantly as the disease develops. If you are over 60, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to complete it.”

For more information, go to bowelcanceruk.org.uk