Intended for healthcare professionals


Experts call for new national screening programme for colorectal cancer

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 27 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2344
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1 London

    Experts on cancer have called for a new national screening programme for colorectal cancer, with all 55 year olds in the United Kingdom to undergo a one-off 5 minute sigmoidoscopy examination.

    The call comes after the publication this week of a 16 year study showing that a single flexible sigmoidoscopy examination in men and women aged between 55 and 64 reduced the incidence of bowel cancer by a third (hazard ratio 0.67 (95% confidence interval 0.6 to 0.76)) and bowel cancer mortality by 43% (0.57 (0.45 to 0.72)), in comparison with a control group.

    Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, called on the next government to add the test to the existing national bowel screening programme as one of its first priorities. “I think it is a no brainer,” he said. “This is the most important development in cancer research for years. We very rarely see results as good as this.”

    Bowel cancer is …

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