UK introduces new home testing kit for early bowel cancer detection

8 June 2016 (Last Updated June 8th, 2016 18:30)

The UK Department of Health has announced the introduction of a new bowel cancer home testing kit across England.

UK cancer

The UK Department of Health has announced the introduction of a new bowel cancer home testing kit across England.

The introduction of the new kit, which could potentially save hundreds of lives, has been confirmed by UK Public Health Minister Jane Ellison.

A successful pilot programme involving 40,000 people had prompted the UK National Screening Committee to recommend the test to be introduced across the nation.

The test will be offered to men and women aged between 60-74 every two years and is intended for an early diagnosis of bowel cancer.

The new test leverages on a method known as Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to search for traces of hidden blood in stool samples, which may signify the early stages of bowel cancer.

It requires one stool sample from three separate stools unlike the existing fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which needs two samples.

The convenience of the new device is expected to the pave the way for increased screening resulting in early diagnosis of the disease.

"The bowel screening programme is crucial in reducing deaths from bowel cancer, and research shows that this change will make the test even more effective."

Cancer Research UK early diagnosis director Sara Hiom said: "It's hugely positive news that the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) will replace the older test so now people will only need to take a single sample when using the screening kit delivered to their homes making it easier for people to do the test.

"The bowel screening programme is crucial in reducing deaths from bowel cancer, and research shows that this change will make the test even more effective.

"Bringing in the new test in England will save more lives by detecting the disease early when it is more likely to be treated successfully."

Bowel Cancer accounts being the second biggest cancer form claiming lives every half an hour in the UK.


Image: The new hoe testing kit. Photo: courtesy of Cancer Research UK.