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Dublin: 0°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Ireland's second biggest cancer killer will soon be able to be spotted in €25 test

Each year almost 2,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, with 1,000 dying from it.

Image: Shutterstock/PathDoc

IRISH SCIENTIST ARE developing a €25 blood test for bowel cancer which could save thousands of lives by spotting the disease at the earliest possible opportunity.

The new test will be a significant breakthrough in the diagnosis of bowel cancer and could be available for widespread use by the end of next year.

Each year almost 2,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer, with 1,000 dying from it – making bowel cancer the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland.

The current screening involves testing traces of blood in stool samples which has resulted in worryingly low levels of patient uptake.

This new test does away with the need for such samples and it’s hoped that it will encourage more people to come forward for bowel cancer testing.

The simple check will pick up on antibodies in the blood produced as the body reacts to the onset of bowel cancer.

Studies show that the identification of these very specific biomarkers will allow for a test which is more sensitive and accurate than existing screening.

The work was a collaboration between researchers from the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at Dublin City University and Irish biotech firm Randox. Randox Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald said:

If bowel cancer is found early, the growth is typically small and can be removed, leaving the person healthy and needing less treatment.

“In addition, bowel cancer places considerable burden on our healthcare system. Stage 3 bowel cancer treatment costs are estimated at more than €45k per patient, with Stage 1 treatment €18,550 – less than half. If we can catch this cancer early and treat it early, then the economic benefit will be considerable.”

Read: 200 cases of bowel cancer found through screening>

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