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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bowel screening

The earlier that a bowel cancer is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful. In the UK a new national screening programme to detect bowel cancer has been developed and is being gradually introduced across the country. All men and women aged between 60 and 69 (50 and 74 in Scotland) will be offered a faecal occult blood (FOB) test every two years. Older people won’t routinely be invited to take part, but are encouraged to request a faecal occult blood test every two years.

The test doesn’t diagnose bowel cancer but can detect tiny amounts of blood, which you can’t normally see, in your bowel motions (faeces). Occult blood means ‘hidden blood’. Bowel cancers and polyps can sometimes bleed, which is why screening looks for blood in your bowel motions.

People who have a positive faecal occult blood test (have blood in their faeces) are invited to have a colonoscopy to look for cancer.

Via: http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk

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