Tiny camera test can cut bowel cancer cases by a third

Share this article
Have your say

A NEW test which could reduce cases of bowel cancer by a third has received a positive reaction from patients and should be introduced in Scotland, campaigners have said.

The test, known as flexible sigmoidoscopy, looks for small growths that could grow into cancer and removes them before they become dangerous.

A Glasgow University study of more than 1,000 people who had the test found that 98 per cent said they were glad to have gone through the experience.

The one-off test is set to be offered to all 55-year-olds in England, with roll-out to start later this year as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

However, Scotland has yet to commit to offering the test. The Scottish Government said it was funding a pilot study to see if people would come forward to have the procedure.

Cancer Research UK scientists asked 1,020 people about any side-effects and their satisfaction with the procedure.

The researchers said that on balance, satisfaction was extremely high, with 97.9 per cent “glad” they had had the test and 97.3 per cent saying they would encourage a friend to have it.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy, also known as Flexi-scope or bowel scope, uses a tiny camera on a thin plastic tube to find small growths or polyps inside the bowel. Any polyps found can be painlessly removed to prevent them developing into cancer.

Unlike some screening tests that focus only on catching cancer early, the test can also reduce the chance of bowel cancer developing.

Pauline Bennett, 65, who had the test as part of another trial, said: “The test was over very quickly and practically painless – just a tiny bit of discomfort. It’s very reassuring to have had the test and know that I’m fine.”