There has been a call for Peterborough City Hospital to start testing bowel cancer sufferers for Lynch Syndrome.
The UK’s leading bowel cancer research charity, Bowel Cancer UK, and the Royal College of Pathologists have today published findings which show that people under 50 diagnosed with bowel cancer are not being tested for Lynch syndrome – a genetic condition that increases the risk of bowel cancer by 80 per cent.
Peterborough and Stamford Hospital Trusts are one of the trusts which stated that reflex testing for Lynch syndrome is not in place but it has recently been requested by the surgeons through the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and is being looked into by the pathology department. They have said that it is necessary for them to establish the costs of the tests and calculate how these would be funded before committing to reflex testing all patients diagnosed with bowel cancer under the age of 50.
Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition which puts people at a much higher risk of developing bowel cancer as well as increasing the risk of other cancers including ovarian cancer, stomach cancer and womb cancer. Lynch syndrome is estimated to cause 1,000 cases of bowel cancer each year, many of them under the age of 50. Yet fewer than five per cent of people with the condition have been identified. The Royal College of Pathologists clinical guidelines state that a simple set of tests, which can help identify people with Lynch syndrome, should be carried out automatically on all people diagnosed with bowel cancer under the age of 50 at the time of diagnosis.
Andy Sutton, father of Stephen Sutton who died at the age of 19 from bowel cancer and became a household name by raising millions for charity, said, “I know from personal experience how vital it is that every single person under 50 who is diagnosed with bowel cancer is offered testing for Lynch syndrome. I was eventually offered it but only after I had been diagnosed with bowel cancer second time round. So I was pleased to hear that 108 out of 153 hospitals in the UK are now testing for Lynch syndrome, but I’d like to see every hospital doing it.”
Professor Tim Helliwell, Vice-President of The Royal College of Pathologists said, “We are pleased to see that most hospitals have followed the College’s guidelines and routinely make available the tests for Lynch syndrome. While we recognise that there are barriers for some Trusts in being able to routinely offer testing, we would encourage local multi-disciplinary teams and commissioners to work together to see if they can improve take up of this vital test which may affect patients and their families.”