Bowel cancer test poorer in hot weather

THE bowel cancer screening test is significantly less likely to pick up cancerous changes in summer than it is in winter, a study has revealed.

The first research to highlight the impact of temperature on its accuracy could have significant implications for the risk of malignancies that develop between screenings.

The test relies on the detection of blood hidden in stool samples - a procedure referred to as the faecal occult blood test.

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Italian researchers' analysis included temperature variations between faecal sampling and the return of the test sample, which averaged about seven days, as well as the time in the laboratory refrigerator, which averaged about four days.

Every degree rise in temperature reduced the likelihood of a positive test result by 0.7 per cent, according to the study published online in Gut.

And in the summer, the likelihood of the test picking up a cancer or an advanced adenoma was around 13 per cent lower than it was in the winter.