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New figures show UK is leading the way in detecting bowel cancer

Posted Mar 21 2011 12:52pm

Figures presented today at the British Society of Gastroenterology’s Annual meeting in Birmingham highlight the high quality of colonoscopy and pre-cancer detection rates since the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme was rolled out in 2006.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year. Typically 1 in 20 people in the UK will develop the disease during their lifetime.

If you are between 60 and 74 years old the bowel cancer screening programme invites you to complete a home stool testing kit every two years. Approximately 1 in 50 of the completed home test kits shows traces of blood, which prompts referral for colonoscopy.

A study of 36,460 screening colonoscopies performed in England during August 2006 to August 2009 showed that polyps (growths which can turn cancerous) were detected in 46.5% of people attending for colonoscopy, significantly more than during the pilot programme. The polyps are removed during the colonoscopy, preventing them from turning cancerous. These figures have been achieved through rigorous training of colonoscopists and ensuring high standards are maintained through ongoing quality assurance measures.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme started offering screening services in April 2006 and is now available across England. Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be effective.

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