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Bowel cancer risk 'could be cut by third'

Imperial College London

A major new study has suggested that the risk of developing bowel cancer could be cut by a third through screening methods.

Scientists at Imperial College London conducted the research, which found that a single flexible sigmoidoscopy examination in men and women aged between 55 and 64-years could dramatically reduce the incidence of the cancer when compared with a control group who received usual care.

Hilary Whittaker, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, commented on the study: "It would be an extremely big step forward and a very welcome step forward because this is a proper diagnostic, preventative screening programme.

"Bowel cancer is a very serious disease because half of the people who get bowel cancer at the moment die. This would be a way of very considerably saving lives."

About one in 20 people in the UK are likely to develop bowel cancer during their lifetime, resulting in more than 16,000 deaths a year in the UK.

The Imperial research, funded by the Medical Research Cancer, looked at more than 170,000 people over a period of around 11 years.

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Cancer treatment news : 30 April 2010