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Monday 24th October 2016

DIY bowel cancer test

24th July 2007

Experts say that the widespread use of a DIY test kit for bowel cancer could save thousands of lives a year.

The simple kit is being sent to people in their 60s across the UK as part of a national screening programme.

The charity Cancer Research UK say that if 60% of those who receive the test make use of it there would be up to 20,000 fewer deaths from the disease over the next two decades and a further 5,000 lives will be saved if the number using it rises to 80%.

The Faecal Occult Blood Test allows people to take samples in their own home and send them for testing. If any blood is found they are then invited for a colonoscopy. In many cases small pre-cancerous growths, detected by colonoscopy, can be removed with bowel cancer prevented from developing.

At present, there are about 35,000 cases of bowel cancer diagnosed each year in the UK with just under half that number dying from the condition, making it the second most common cause of death in the country.

Professor Max Parkin, who is an epidemiologist at the Wolfson Institute in London and involved in the findings, said: “Our research looked at a realistic scenario where uptake is about 60% and compared those results with an optimistic scenario where uptake could rise to 80%. In both cases thousands of deaths could be prevented.?

The Department of Health has issued 300,000 testing kits in England with 2,500 positive results and those patients are now receiving treatment.


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