Bowel cancer testing programme leads to 763 new cases

The introduction of nationwide bowel cancer testing for the over-62s at the start of this year resulted in 763 people being diagnosed with cancer, the public health institute RIVM said on Friday.

Almost 4,000 other people were found to have polyps which may have developed into cancer at some point, the RIVM said.

In total, almost 130,000 people took part in the test in the first six months of the year and 12% of them needed further research. The results are in line with the RIVM’s expectations.

High take-up

The number of people invited to send a sample of their faeces for testing was reduced sharply early in the campaign because of the high take-up rate.

Eventually the test will be expanded to cover everyone over the age of 55 every two years and the system should be fully operational from 2019.

Every year 13,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the Netherlands and 5,100 people die of the disease. The RIVM hopes the introduction of testing will cut the death rate by almost half.

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