Early screening can prevent bowel cancer

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NEW research has confirmed that early screening for bowel cancer can increase a patient’s chances of survival.

The research, from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Durham University, reveals that bowel cancer patients who disease is found through screening ave a better chance of survival than those diagnosed after developing symptoms.

The study also adds to evidence that the test used in bowel screening – which looks for blood in stool samples – is better at finding bowel cancers in man, ad in the lower part of the bowel.

Michael Gill, a clinical research fellow based at Wansbeck General Hospital, led the study alongside consultant surgeons at the hospital Sarah Mills and Mike Bradburn, plus partners at the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham University.

Mr Gill said: “Compared to the trials which led to the introduction of the national bowel screening programme, our research shows that the proportion of bowel cancers detected through screening has improved with the roll out of national screening.

“But too many bowel cancers are slipping through the net. We need to understand why the present blood test is less good at detecting cancers in certain parts of the bowel, and in women.

“The overwhelming message to the public remains that bowel cancer screening does work and I would urge everyone who receives their free screening kit in the post to take the test and send it back as soon as possible in the prepaid envelope – it could ultimately save your life.”

The study findings support Cancer Research UK’s calls to ensure the bowel screening programmes are as effective as possible.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK with more than 41,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year.