The national health screening programme will now include a new test for the detection of Bowel cancer that could save up to 3,000 lives a year.

The Telegraph reports that this new 'breakthrough' cancer test called 'flexible sigmoidoscopy'  (or 'flexi-scope') will be part of a five point anti-cancer strategy that will cost £60 million over four years. It comes after a 16 year clinical trial co-funded by Cancer Research UK showing that it could help prevent 10,000 people contracting the cancer each year and halve the death rate fro it.

This test detects bowel cancer early enough for pre-cancerous polyps to be removed. And with about half of those diagnosed with bowl cancer dying within five years this will come as good news.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research, said "The recent trial results of this method of detecting and removing polyps before they develop into bowel cancer can truly be called a breakthrough".

When all cancer is taken into account it kills someone every four minutes, that is 150,000 people a year. At present 16,000 of these are bowel cancer sufferers.

The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley also has other cancer fighting plans. The number of cancer specialists will rise by 1200 over 2009 levels by 2012 and radiotherapy will be extended, which will include very high concentration radiotherapu in the form of proton beam therapy.

"I want the NHS to deliver cancer survival rates comparable to the best in the world. We’re going to introduce an exciting new screening test for bowel cancer which could save up to 3,000 lives a year. We have secured the funding for a four-year roll out and will, subject to the green light from the UK National Screening Committee, begin pilots from spring next year." said Mr Lansley.

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