The likelihood of a person needing bowel cancer treatment may be due in part to their race, new research suggests.
Cancer Research UK scientists at the University of Edinburgh have for the first time found evidence of a race-specific effect for a gene related to bowel cancer.
An analysis of more than 33,000 people's genes revealed that Europeans with a particular genetic marker linked to bowel cancer have an increased risk of the disease, but Japanese people with the same genetic marker do not.
However, the genetic variant increases the risk of rectal cancer in both populations.
Their findings are published in the journal Nature Genetics and lead author Professor Malcolm Dunlop described them as "an important step forward" in understanding the causes of bowel cancer.
"It's important to catch bowel cancer at an early stage when it's more likely to be treated successfully," he added.