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Flexible sigmoidoscopy to be piloted for bowel cancer screening

Patients will be offered flexible sigmoidoscopy to screen for bowel cancer under a new pilot in six areas announced by the health secretary.

The test will be offered to all younger patients – those aged over 55 years - who don’t necessarily display symptoms if they have bowel cancer.

Currently, anyone aged 60 to 69 years registered with a GP is invited to submit a sample for faecal occult testing using a kit at home.

But Jeremy Hunt, speaking at the Britain Against Cancer Conference yesterday said that the pilots would aim to diagnose cancer earlier in those who did not display obvious symptoms.

Mr Hunt said: ‘The pilots will help prevent cancer and catch cancer early when it is most treatable.’

The Prime Minister announced earlier this year that flexible sigmoidosicopy was to be rolled out for bowel cancer screening to improve survival rates.

The six trials of using flexible sigmoidoscopy as the primary screening technique for bowel cancer will be tested in Norwich, South of Tyne, St Mark’s Hospital in London, Surrey, West Kent and Wolverhampton.

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