BORDERERS remain the most responsive towards a Scotland-wide campaign for reducing bowel cancer deaths.

Through-the-post screening kits are sent to everyone in the country between the ages of 50 and 74.

And over the past three years a higher percentage of people in the Borders have returned stool samples than anywhere else on mainland Scotland.

During 2015/16 and 2016/17 a total of 62.1 per cent of kits sent to people in the NHS Borders area were returned with samples - 58.6 per cent of men and 65.5 per cent of women.

And the most recent figures for 2017/18 show that the trend has continued with 61.8 percent returning the kits - 58.2 percent of men and 65.2 percent of women.

The statistics also show that the Scottish Borders sits just behind Dumfries and Galloway - at 1.76 percent - when it comes the least amount of positive results.

Bowel cancer remains the third most common cancer in Scotland.

And the postal screening kits can help provide an early diagnosis and increased chance of survival.

Health secretary Shona Robison is trying to encourage more and more people to return the postal screening tests.

She said: "Early diagnosis is crucial to saving lives.

"More than 90 per cent of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully, if diagnosed early."

Every year more than 3,700 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Scotland and around 1,500 people die from the disease. However, bowel cancer is treatable and curable - with patients being around 14 times more likely to survive if it's found early enough.

A new simplified screening test was launched almost 18 months ago following a successful pilot scheme, in a bid to increase participation.

The new test only requires collecting one stool sample compared to the six separate samples previously required.

And, like the previous test, it will still be posted out every two years.

Ms Robison added: "The new test is easier to use than the previous process and this will increase the number of people completing screening.

"This will enable us to detect more conditions at an earlier stage, helping more people to beat bowel cancer than ever before."