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One-off screening test cuts risk of developing bowel cancer by a third

A one-off screening test for bowel cancer reduces the risk of developing the disease for at least 17 years, say UK researchers. 
Sigmoidoscope-Alamy.jpg

A one-off screening test for bowel cancer reduces the risk of developing the disease for at least 17 years, say UK researchers.

In the longest study ever undertaken on the effectiveness of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening, or bowel scope, the researchers studied 170,034 people. A total of 57,098 were offered screening, with 40, 621 taking this up. Participants were then followed up for about 17 years.

1

in 14 men and 1 in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Source: Cancer Research UK

The researchers found that the test, which examines the lower part of the large bowel using a tiny camera attached to a thin, flexible tube, prevented 35% of bowel cancers

...

A one-off screening test for bowel cancer reduces the risk of developing the disease for at least 17 years, say UK researchers. 


The test examines the lower part of the large bowel using a tiny camera attached to a tube. Picture: Alamy

In the longest study ever undertaken on the effectiveness of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening, or bowel scope, the researchers studied 170,034 people. A total of 57,098 were offered screening, with 40, 621 taking this up. Participants were then followed up for about 17 years. 

in 14 men and 1 in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Source: Cancer Research UK 

The researchers found that the test, which examines the lower part of the large bowel using a tiny camera attached to a thin, flexible tube, prevented 35% of bowel cancers overall, and 40% of deaths. 

‘Vital’ test

They said it can stop cancer before it starts by finding small growths, known as polyps, on the bowel wall. If left untreated, polyps can become cancerous, but those found during screening can usually be removed there and then. 

Lead study author Wendy Atkin said: ‘Bowel cancer can be prevented. The bowel scope screening test is a great way to reduce the number of people diagnosed with the disease, so it is vital that no one misses out on the opportunity to get the test.’ 


Atkin W et al (2017) Long term effects of once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening after 17 years of follow-up: the UK Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30396-3

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