Bowel cancer screening breakthrough

Bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the UK – and it can affect both males and females, including the young as well as those who are much older. Happily, there are preventative procedures that can detect bowel cancer at an early stage.

One of these, a bowel cancer screening procedure known as flexible sigmoidoscopy, will soon be made freely available to everyone in England aged 55-64. But many experts and sufferers feel that screening should be available at a much younger age.

£60 million investment

Cancer Research UK funded the trials that convinced the government to commit £60m over the next four years for the extra screening. The charity’s head of policy, Hazel Nunn, said: “The results were quite outstanding. It’s not often we would use the word breakthrough, but that’s what this is. The trials found that a once-only scope can reduce the incidence of bowel cancer by a third and cut the number of deaths by nearly a half.”

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is very similar to colonoscopy, the main difference being that with colonoscopy the entire four to five feet length of the bowel is examined, rather than just the last two feet, consisting of the sigmoid colon and rectum. During both procedures the doctor inspects an image of the colon on a TV monitor, shown via a very small camera mounted on a thin flexible tube that is passed into the colon through the anus. The tube also accommodates a special tool with which the doctor can remove polyps (which can potentially be the source of cancer) and also take tissue samples for further examination. A full colonoscopy is the preferred screening method, but sigmoidoscopy is easier to prepare for and takes less time. Both procedures are available outside the National Health Service, and in some circumstances can be paid for through private health insurance.

The ready availability of sigmoidoscopy as an NHS procedure for over 55s is welcome progress. It is to be hoped that before long, the availability of this important preventative procedure will be extended to much younger people at risk of the disease, such as those suspected of Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, who sometimes actually have early-stage bowel cancer. If this were done, many more untimely deaths could be prevented.

Preparation for an examination

An important part of a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy examination is thorough cleansing of the bowel beforehand, ideally using colonic irrigation, to ensure maximum bowel clarity for the doctor. Various methods can be used for cleansing, but Dotolo’s Toxygen BSC-UV technology is regarded as the most effective and best-tolerated method of bowel preparation for colonoscopy.

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Therapeutic colon cleansing

Colon cleansing is a well-established therapy that has been tested and approved in the USA by the FDA. It can provide many benefits, ranging from reduced bloating and enhanced sleep to a clearer complexion and increased vitality. Dotolo’s Toxygen BSC-UV technology defines the global standard for therapist-assisted colon cleansing without drugs or chemicals, using filtered water and single-use disposable consumables. When Toxygen equipment is used, the process is discreet, dignified and comfortable.

For more information

To learn more about the newly approved NHS sigmoidoscopy screening programme, visit Sky News at http://bit.ly/eNMw8X

For more about Dotolo’s Toxygen BSC-UV technology for colonoscopy prep or therapy, visit www.dotolo.eu/

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