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Colorectal screening service launched

A national Colorectal screening service was launched this morning, with the health authorities planning to invite up to 1,300 people per month to take the test.

The service was launched by Health Minister Joseph Cassar, who said that this was the second most common cancer in Malta.

The screening will initially involve men and women aged between 60 and 64. They will receive invitations asking them to take the test. Those who accept will then receive a self-testing kit.  They will be required to use a special stick to test for traces of blood in their faeces, the stick will then be placed in a bottle and sent to the Health Department.

Dr Cassar stressed that a positive test outcome did not necessarily mean that cancer was present, but further testing would be required.

Dr Cassar and Nadine Delicata, head of the national health screening programme, explained that the new programme was based on the Breast Screening Programme and cost some €1 million to set up.

Dr Delicata said the response rate to such programme abroad was about 40%. The authorities in Malta intend to broaden the tests to other age groups.

In 2010 there were 232 cases of bowel cancer in Malta, with 119 patients having been men. 100 succumbed to the cancer.

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