Screening for colon cancer

Screening for colon cancer reduces risk.

Unfortnately colon and rectal cancers are relatively common with just over 40,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year. Just under half of these cancers occure in women and it is the 3rd most common cancer for both men and women. Lung cancer related to smoking is the second most common for both sexes and Prostate and Breast remain the most common for the respective sexes. About one in 20 people will develop bowel cancer during their life. The overall survival for colon and rectal cancer is about 54% in the UK whilst in Europe it is a little higher however Western Europe has the second highest Colorectal cancer rates in the world and the second highest mortality, only Australia and New Zealand are worse.

Until relatively recently the detection of colon and rectal cancer in the UK was based on patients presenting with symptoms of rectal bleeding, change in bowel habit, abdominal pain or weight loss. More recently bowel cancer screeing using stool tests to check for blood, has been offred by the NHS every other year between the age of 60 and 69 althought the upper age is being exteneded to 74. This somewhat less than screening in other developed countries where screening begins at 50 and involves, Colonoscopy every 10 years, flexible sigmoidoscopy every 3 years and FOB testing every year. If during screening the FOB test is poisitive the patient is offered a Colonoscopy to look for polyps and cancer.

Screening may be undertaken privately and can be arranged for you by The East Preston Clinic. The risks of all of the screening investigations described here are significantly less that the risk of developing colon cancer. The more aggressive American style of screening yealds an 84% reduction in the lifetime mortality for colon cancer. The current NHS screening in the UK offers only a 16% reduction in mortality.  If you want to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer as far as possible please arrange your screening through The East Preston Clinic.

For more information please follow these links

Faecal Occult Blood testing

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Colonoscopy

Screening at The East Preston Clinic

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- Bill Smith