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Sunday 18th March 2018

Bowel cancer screening needed

28th April 2010

According to a study published in The Lancet, a quick test for bowel cancer could stop many people in the UK dying from the disease.


Charities have called for the test to be made available around the UK after the study showed that it reduced deaths in a group of 200,000 people aged 55-64 by 43% over a decade.

The data, carried out by an Imperial College London team, was described by Cancer Research UK as a "rare breakthrough".

The Department of Health said an independent committee would investigate the results of the tests and advise on the costs of incorporating it into the UK's screening programme.

The existing test for bowel cancer examines stools for blood and refers a patient on if they are discovered.

The tests examined in the study involved the use of a scope to discover and take out polyps. Removal of polyps can stop the cancer from spreading to other areas of the body.

This test was found to reduce deaths by one third (if polyps were discovered and removed) in 40,000 people aged 55-64. Death rates dropped by 43% when the group was compared with another who had not received any tests or treatment.

Harpal Kumar, head of Cancer Research UK, said: "Such a programme, backed by all UK governments, would save thousands of lives, whilst also saving the NHS money."


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