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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 09:33 GMT
Screening sees bowel cancer early
Bowel cancer cell
A home testing kit can detect evidence of bowel cancer
A bowel cancer screening programme has identified 36 people with the condition and another 84 with dangerous polyps in its first six months of operation.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) screening centre is the second of six to be rolled out in the first wave of an NHS programme.

The centre also claims one of England's highest take up rates at 73%.

People from Norfolk aged 60 to 69 are being screened using a blood test which can be done in their own homes.

We are picking up one cancer per week
Dr Richard Tighe

People aged 70 and above can also ask for a kit.

A positive result - which does not necessarily mean the person has bowel cancer - means they can then see a screening nurse at NNUH for a colonoscopy.

So far 182 people from across central Norfolk have had a colonoscopy and those most at risk have been offered treatment.

Consultant gastroenterologist Dr Richard Tighe said: "We would urge everyone over the age of 60 who receives a kit from the screening programme to please complete the test.

"Based on our figures to date, we are picking up one cancer per week, and have uncovered and removed pre-malignant polyps in another two people each week.

"For every one cancer detected, we are ruling out another two people who have had normal tests."

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