Bowel cancer screening could highlight other conditions
Tuesday 17 July 2018
Having hidden blood in poo could indicate whether people are at risk of other health problems, a study of patients in Tayside, Scotland has suggested.
If blood was found in a person's stool there was a 58% higher risk of death from other diseases. Having a positive result was significantly associated with increased risk of dying from circulatory disease, respiratory disease, digestive diseases excluding bowel cancer, neuropsychological disease, blood and endocrine disease.
The study, published in the journal Gut, examined data on 134,192 Tayside patients between 2000 and 2016.
Researchers from Ninewells Hospital and the Medical School in Dundee examined data from people who took part in the bowel screening test, which in Scotland is offered every two years to men and women aged between 50 and 74.
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, says: “This interesting research highlights the importance of looking for hidden blood in your poo, which is routinely done as part of the bowel cancer screening programmes in the UK.
“We know that bowel cancer screening is key to preventing bowel cancer or diagnosing it early but finding ways to extend its benefit in people who test positive but don’t have bowel cancer is really exciting. This may, in time, help us save lives lost to other health conditions too. It also highlights the importance of taking part in bowel cancer screening when invited to do so or if you experience visible symptoms, please take action and tell your GP. ”