Excessive cancer op warning

Too many people may be undergoing unnecessary medical procedures to remove growths in their bowel that may never become cancerous, experts have warned.

90% chance of surviving bowel cancer with screenings

Bowel cancer screening improves the chance of catching the disease early and gives patients a 90% chance of surviving, a health campaigner has said.

Chief executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, Mark Flannagan, remained sceptical about research which claimed a lot of colonoscopies were unnecessary and urged people to get checked.

If bowel cancer is detected at an early stage, there is over a 90% chance of it being successfully treated.

This is why taking part in the bowel cancer screening programme is so important. If you have an abnormal result you'll be sent for a colonoscopy to detect polyps, which can develop into cancer over time.

Whilst this study raises reasonable questions about the need to remove all polyps which are found, much more research needs to be done to refine the choice of which polyps should be routinely removed in the future.

– chief executive Beating Bowel Cancer Mark Flannagan

Some bowel cancer prevention 'unnecessary'

Medical experts are concerned too many people are undergoing unnecessary operations to remove growths on the bowel which will never become cancerous.

Doctors
Doctors have warned against racing ahead for preventative treatment for bowel cancel. Credit: PA

Concerns about missing cases of bowel cancer - the third most common cancer in the UK - could be putting people at unnecessary risk of bowel perforation or major bleeding, they said.

Small growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum called bowel polyps, which effect 15-20% of the UK population are removed as some can eventually turn cancerous.

Professor Geir Hoff and colleagues in Norway, writing online in the British Medical Journal said data showed less than 5% of adenomas develop into bowel cancer.

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