A study given considerable well-deserved publicity has been published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: Menon U, et al. Risk algorithm using serial biomarker measurements doubles the number of screen-detected cancers compared with a single-threshold rule in the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening. JCO; published online on May 11, 2015; DOI:10.1200/JCO.2014.59.4945.
The many charities involved in increasing public awareness of bowel cancer achieve excellent results. The symptoms of bowel cancer are documented in simple terms, such as: bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo, a change in bowel habit lasting for three weeks or more, unexplained weight loss or extreme tiredness for no obvious reason and severe abdominal pain. They also suggest that, if concerned about such symptoms, an appointment should be made with the GP. They, and the “Detect Cancer Early” and “Be Clear on Cancer” campaigns, emphasise that getting checked is not a waste of time, particularly because the earlier a bowel cancer is detected, the better the outcome.
Most cancers are detected or suspected in primary care after consultation with a GP. NICE published “Referral guidelines for suspected cancer” (CG27) in 2005. There have been many advances in the last decade and NICE prepared a document on “Suspected cancer: recognition and management of suspected cancer in children, young people and adults” in November 2014. This has been out for consultation and is expected in May 2015.