New study predicts risk of bowel cancer using algorithms
Thursday 21 September 2017
New first stage research by the University of Oxford shows advanced computer algorithm technology can successfully indicate levels of risk of bowel cancer, by analysing previous blood test results in patients’ existing medical records.
Technological advancements in algorithm technology – a mathematical analysis of data – have led to the ability to ultra-rapidly search through existing NHS records to determine whether a patient is at risk of bowel cancer. The results indicate that this new medical development could complement the current NHS bowel cancer screening programme and make risk assessment in primary care more accurate.
Early diagnosis is key to saving lives
Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs, says: “This interesting study highlights the potential benefits of algorithm technology to predict the level of risk a person has of developing bowel cancer. Early diagnosis is key to saving lives; more than nine out of ten people diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer survive five years or more, compared to less than one in ten people diagnosed at stage 4.
“Every year 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, it’s the fourth most common cancer in the UK. There are several known factors that increase your risk of getting the disease. Some of these are things you can’t do anything about, for example, age and genetics. But you can make changes to your lifestyle to help stack the odds against bowel cancer, as well as cutting down on alcohol, also being of a healthy weight, taking more exercise, and stopping smoking will make a real difference.”