THE first 1,000 people have been contacted and invited to take part in the long-delayed national bowel cancer screening programme.
The programme, which is free, is to offer first-round testing to 500,000 men and women aged 60-69 years over the next three years.
It was originally due to start in January of last year and later postponed to July before being put back again.
A spokeswoman told the Irish Independent that 1,000 invitations have been sent out to people in the eligible age group asking if they want to participate.
"Eligible men and women who indicate they wish to take part in the screening programme will be sent a screening test kit called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT)," the spokeswoman said.
The aim is to expand the programme over time until the full 55-74 age group is reached.
Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed form of the disease among both men and women in Ireland and on average 2,270 new cases are diagnosed each year.