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Bowel cancer breakthrough 'cuts deaths by 43 per cent'

28th April 2010

A one-off screening test which takes just five minutes to perform could save thousands of lives lost as a result of bowel cancer, a study has claimed.

Research published in the Lancet journal suggested that a single flexible sigmoidoscopy examination performed between the ages of 55 and 64 can cut the risk of developing the disease by a third, as it allows polyps to be removed before they turn cancerous.

Over the course of the 16-year study, bowel cancer mortality in the group which had the 'Flexi-Scope' examination was 43 per cent lower than the control group.

Professor Wendy Atkin, from the department of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London, which led the research, commented: 'Our study shows for the first time that we could dramatically reduce the incidence of bowel cancer and the number of people dying from the disease by using this one-off test.'

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, applauded the results and called on the next government to add the Flexi-Scope test to the UK's national bowel screening programme.

Recent research published in the Gut journal claimed a purified form of omega 3 could reduce the number and size of precancerous polyps in those genetically predisposed to bowel cancer.

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