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.