A new D.I.Y health screening program, in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, has uncovered 192 cases of colon cancer and pre-cancerous tumors.
The program invited 10,000 people, between the ages of 50 and 74, to use a home test and return to the hospital for analysis. Twenty percent of participants, in the past two years, found some evidence of cancer cells.
Prof Colm O’Morain, consultant gastroenterologist at Tallaght, said he was encouraged that 51 percent of people had responded. Rates of colon cancer in Ireland are among the highest in Europe.
Participants in the program provided samples of bowel movements which were then analyzed for traces of blood. If blood was detected, they were offered a colonoscopy.
After the home checks 400 colonoscopies were taken which resulted in 154 pre-cancerous tumors and 38 cancerous lesions being discovered.
Annually 925 Irish people die from bowel cancer and 2,000 new cases are discovered.
Twenty-one percent of those who took part in the new program had advanced stage bowel cancer which might have gone undetected had they not taken part in the program. From the program 99 percent found benign polyps and 55 percent found hyperplastic polyps considered unlikely to become malignant.