WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A government colon cancer
screening program in England is on target to reduce colon cancer
deaths by its goal of 16 percent, according to researchers who
conducted an analysis of the first 1 million test results.
The study also found that left-sided colon cancer was detected
much more often than right-sided cancer, which is believed to be
more aggressive. This finding suggests that different strategies
may be needed to detect the disease on both sides of the body.
The program was introduced in 2006 and went nationwide by the
end of 2009 for people aged 60 to 69 and has since been extended to
those over 70. It involves three fecal occult screening tests every
two years. A fecal occult test reveals blood in the stool that is
not visible to the eye.
This study looked at data from 1 million people who took part in
the program by October 2008. Of those, 2.5 percent of men and 1.5
percent of women, or about 21,000 in all, had an abnormal test
result and 17,500 underwent further examination, usually a
Men were more likely than women to have colon cancer. About 71
percent of the cancers were detected early.
It was thought that left-sided disease would account for 67
percent of the cancers detected by the screening program, while 24
percent would be right-sided. But the study found that about 77
percent of the cancers detected by the screening program were
left-sided and 14 percent were right-sided.
"Different screening strategies may be required to effectively screen for right-sided bowel cancer," concluded researchers led by Dr. Richard Logan of the University of Nottingham Medical School, in England.
The study appears in the Dec. 7 issue of the journal
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
colorectal cancer screening.