Population based screening in Scotland reduces bowel cancer deaths

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 09 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7304
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Faecal occult blood testing can cut the number of colorectal cancer deaths by 27%, says the first study to show the impact of a population based screening programme.

The study, funded by the Scottish government Health Department, found a 10% reduction in bowel cancer deaths among all those invited for screening compared with those not invited. This rose to 27% among participants who actually completed the test. The research was presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool on 9 November.

Previous randomised controlled trials of faecal occult blood testing have shown a combined overall reduction in colorectal mortality of 16% in those invited for screening and 23% in participants.

Study author, Robert Steele, professor of surgery at the University of Dundee, said: “For the first …

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