Patients in Swansea can detect bowel cancer using cutting-edge blood tests

In a lab, a researcher

The first alternative cutting-edge blood tests will be offered in the UK to people who have recovered from bowel cancer and are on waiting lists for colonoscopies on the NHS.  .

200 locals will be given the test by Swansea Bay scientists to ensure that the disease has not returned. .

Leading cancer organizations have hailed the move as a "positive step" for those awaiting exams. .

Moondance Cancer Initiative, based in Wales, will pay for it.

Bowel cancer affects thousands of people in Wales every year.  .

Those who receive treatment and recover from the illness are followed up with routine scans or colonoscopies. .

Prof. Dean Harris, a colorectal surgeon at Swansea's Singleton hospital, hopes the blood test can be an affordable and simple substitute for those who are waiting. .

Only patients with cancer suspicions, or those who arrived via the GP route or the urgent suspected cancer pathway, could actually undergo colonoscopies, according to him.

"In Swansea Bay alone, about 4,000 patients have been awaiting a follow-up colonoscopy for years after having bowel cancer or polyps removed.

Guidelines state that they must have a follow-up colonoscopy performed, sometimes a year or three years later.

But after the pandemic, all of that activity ceased, and there is now a massive backlog not just in Swansea but across all of Wales and the UK.

Unless they start to experience symptoms, these patients are still unable to schedule appointments.

And we are aware that some people who are waiting for treatment end up getting cancer.

According to the results of the blood test, those patients are more likely to have cancer or polyps present, so we want to help prioritize which of them needs to be moved up the list to have their test done as soon as possible. ".

The next few months will see invitations sent out to the 200 hundred selected patients.

If the tests are successful, it is hoped that the project can be expanded elsewhere in Wales. Cancer patients and cancer charities would welcome this development.

Anything that can save lives and make checkups easier is a welcome development, according to Paul Scanlon, a recent cancer patient from Cardiff. .

Paul Scanlon has had a stoma fitted since he was diagnosed with bowel cancer
Since receiving a bowel cancer diagnosis, Paul Scanlon has had a stoma fitted.

When he discovered blood in his poop, the 53-year-old was preparing for the London Marathon. .

After putting off visiting the doctor for months and experiencing "chronic back pain," he soon realized something was wrong. .

He claimed, "Cancer didn't even cross my mind. .

He was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in April 2022 and was found to have two sizable tumors. .

He said, "I was absolutely devastated," and added that the months that followed were "hell" for him and his family. .

For the next five years, Mr. Scanlon, who still requires scans every six months, said he welcomes any scientific advancements that help survivors live better lives and experience less anxiety.

People are hesitant to come forward because of the nature of the colonoscopy, according to Lowri Griffiths of the cancer charity Tenovus. ".

The Welsh government has established a national endoscopy program in order to "prioritize people waiting," and they also mention that they are working on other projects like "training more clinicians who can perform endoscopy."

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