Published on 28/04/2010
A new one-off screening test that takes just five minutes to perform could vastly reduce the number of deaths from bowel cancer
, researchers say.
Results published in the Lancet Medical Journal revealed that a single flexible sigmoidoscopy, or 'Flexi-Scope' test, administered to patients between the ages of 55 and 64 reduced the incidence of bowel cancer by one-third.
This is because a sigmoidoscopy can detect polyps growths on the bowel wall before they have a chance to turn cancerous. Doctors are also able to easily remove these growths during the examination itself.
Currently the technique is only available to select patients whose symptoms require further investigation.
In addition, scientists found that bowel cancer deaths were reduced by 43 per cent among those who had the test compared with those who received usual care.
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK which helped fund the research, said that an extensive roll out of the procedure "could save thousands of lives".
"We have a tremendous opportunity to use this procedure to push bowel cancer back down the league table of cancer cases in the UK," he said.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK with more than 37,500 people diagnosed with the disease each year.
© ActiveQuote Health Ltd. 2010Categories: Medical