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400 diagnosed with bowel cancer despite no symptoms

24 Jun 2016

A total of 401 people have been diagnosed with a bowel cancer despite having no symptoms, following the introduction of BowelScreen.

Many of these will be cured by surgery alone or surgery and some chemotherapy, said Prof Diarmuid O’Donoghue, Clinical Lead for BowelScreen.

Over half of all people with a positive faecal immunochemical (FIT) test have had polyps removed from their bowel. Many of these individuals would have gone on to develop bowel cancer in the months and years to come, said the HSE.

The number of new bowel cancer cases is expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years, due mainly to an increasing and ageing population. Currently more than 2,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are reported each year.

The importance of bowel screening, which aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people who have no symptoms, was stressed during the recent Men’s Health Week, which ran from June 13-19. Bowel cancer is currently the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland, and approximately 1,000 colorectal cancer patients die from the disease.

The National Bowel Screening Programme, which is Government-funded, offers regular, free bowel screening to men and women aged 60 to 69.

Gary Culliton

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times