Bowel cancer screening ‘does cut deaths’

A bowel cancer screening program is on course to cut deaths by a sixth, say researchers studying results from the first million people tested. However, the work, published in the journal Gut, has raised concerns that the programme, launched in 2006, misses tumours in certain parts of the colon.

Testers checked a faeces sample for signs of abnormal bleeding. The researcher who analysed the results said money should be spent on bringing in more sensitive tests.

Part of the reason for the high mortality rate is that symptoms often do not appear until cancer is advanced and harder to treat. The screening program aims to catch the tumors earlier, meaning more patients can be cured. Several million people aged 69 and over have now been screened, with approximately half of those invited taking part. Read more…

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