A new blood test seems to be more than twice as good at detecting bowel cancer than the method currently used to screen for polyps and early bowel cancer

A BLOOD test that can spot early-stage bowel cancer may be a more accurate way to screen for the disease than current methods.

Bowel cancer starts with the growth of small clumps of cells called polyps. If found early, these can be removed before they turn cancerous.

Many countries currently use the faecal occult blood (FOB) test to routinely screen those aged 50 or over for polyps. This simple test detects blood in stools, but doing this only picks up around 15 per cent of polyps.

Colonoscopies are much better, but are expensive, invasive and require the use of general anaesthetic, so cannot be used for routine screens.

Now a team at Chang Gung University, Taiwan, has developed a blood test that detects cells that have become detached from polyps or more advanced tumours. In a trial of 620 people, it detected 77 per cent of polyps and 87

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