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GP genetic screening backed

Targeted screening for colorectal cancer in younger patients using GPs' computer records is superior to population screening, new research suggests.

According to clinical genetics researchers from the University of Oxford, the system is cheaper, quicker and causes less anxiety than standard population screening.

The study, published in April's British Journal of General Practice, found that compared with standard population-based screening, a case-finding approach produced a greater yield of families at higher risk of colorectal cancer.

Relatives at 'high risk' of colorectal cancer were traced from 5 per cent of the index cases.

The tracing system also identified nearly a quarter of relatives traced as 'moderate risk' of colorectal cancer and suitable for disease surveillance.

Dr Helen Restorick, a GP in Guildford, Surrey, and a former clinical associate in genetics, said the study was interesting because it had highlighted cases of colorectal cancer

that had not been previously identified.

But she added: 'There's a question of whether practices will have time to do this screening.'

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