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Why screen for Colorectal Cancer?


Colorectal cancer most often results in death if left untreated or diagnosed late. It is the secondlargest cause of cancer mortality in the UK with 16,300 deaths per year, accounting for 10 % of all cancer deaths in the UK, which equates to 45 deaths per day (2015-2017)*

The Dukes Staging system differentiates between four cancer stages and is based on the degree of spread of colorectal cancer. Each stage corresponds to a decreasing 5-year-survival-rate:


However, a significant proportion of cases (61 %) diagnosed at stages II, III and IV already report spread of the cancer outside the bowels.*


In the recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in new colorectal cancer cases per year, especially in younger age groups (ages 30: 6.8 % rise/year; under 50s: 1.8 % rise/year)*


In England, survival is higher for patients diagnosed aged 15 - 39 and those diagnosed aged 60 - 69, irrespective of stage.1 Undertaking colorectal cancer screening is therefore critical for the early detection and prevention, and in turn higher chances of cure and survival. Screening can be done within the NHS from 55-59 with colonoscopy and from 60 years onwards with FIT tests. However for tumour DNA tests such as ColoAlert®, many experts including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend to start from 45 onwards, thus allowing for an earlier detection with increased survival rates*


Cancer Research UK, [Online] Available from: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statisticsby-cancer-type/bowel-cancer [Accessed February 2020] 8) American Cancer Society (2019) Cancer Facts & Figures 2019. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2019 9) Cancer Research UK [Online] Dukes‘ staging system [Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/bowel-cancer/ stages-types-and-grades/dukes-staging.] Accessed: January 2020

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