Our consultant GP Dr Tang has launched at-home bowel and colorectal cancer test that can detect cancerous cells more quickly than invasive hospital testing. Patients have a 95% survival rate if these cancers are caught quickly; but sadly, increasing waiting lists due to Covid-19 and a reluctance amongst patients to undergo tests such as colonoscopies means that Britain has the highest death rates in Europe for bowel cancer.
Worryingly, more under 50s and dramatically more young adults are suffering from colorectal cancers due to factors such as heavy drinking, low fibre diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Dr Tang has developed a non-invasive mail order test for patients following his own family tragedy, and hopes simple sample collection will enable earlier diagnoses and better futures for more people.
Dr Tang, is working with Pall Mall Medical to launch a new at-home testing kit for colorectal cancer, ColoAlert, that promises faster results and therefore more treatment options and better future quality of life, all without the need for invasive tests such as colonoscopies.
The testing kits were developed in response to rising cases of late diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC) amongst younger people and because of the personal experience of the kits’ creator Doctor Chun Tang, whose father died and brother suffered severe health implications due to the respective late and misdiagnosis of bowel cancer, which is a type of CRC.
CRC is in fact the third most common form of cancer worldwide and the fourth most common cancer in the UK, where there are 42,300 new cases per year. This accounts for 11% of all new cancer cases and is the second-largest cause of deaths from cancer in Britain.
Over half of bowel cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage; meaning only 10 percent of colorectal cancer patients have a survival rate of over 5 years. While its fairly commonly known that colorectal cancer affects those aged 50+, new research shows there is a dramatic increase (7.4%) in cases being diagnosed amongst young adults, aged 20-29.
The diagnosis of CRC in young adults has been particularly associated with delays and poorer outcomes, with 60 percent being diagnosed at later stages of the disease and 34 percent diagnosed in emergency care, which in turn leads to lower survival rates.
A misdiagnosis followed by a late diagnosis severely impacted the health of Dr Tang’s brother aged just 35 and a late diagnosis also led to the untimely death of his father. This deeply personal experience coupled with worrying data around young people stimulated the Dr Tang to develop and launch ColoAlert, as both parties believe it is crucial to diagnose and treat CRC as early as possible so effective care and a better future can be offered to the patient.
ColoAlert is a non-invasive test that can be done at home. Those who are worried about potentially having a CRC simply order a kit, take a small sample of their stool and post the kit back for analysis. An independent lab then analyses the stool cells and alerts the patient if there are any tumour cells and high levels of human DNA present (as those with a CRC do usually have higher levels of DNA in their stools as an early indicator of illness).
If these are evident, patients are then advised to seek further tests and therefore obtain a quicker diagnosis. The faster a diagnosis, the more treatment options there are to fight the cancer and the better the future quality of life for the patient; in fact, if there is a 95 percent survival rate for bowel cancer if caught in stage one – which this test can do – compared to a survival rate of just 5 percent if found at stage three or four.
Dr Tang said: “I sadly know only too well from my family’s experience how terrible the consequences of late diagnosis can be in colorectal cancers. What’s more, it’s a growing problem for us here in Britain; we have the highest death rates for bowel cancer in all of Europe, a rise in younger people developing bowel cancer due to lifestyle changes and a stretched NHS that doesn’t always have the capacity to identify these cancers in their early stages.
“But early diagnosis is key to better survival rates and better quality of life post-treatment, which is why I worked to develop ColoAlert; a non-invasive, at-home test that those with colorectal cancer worries can use to identify potential cases quickly and simply – and all without a painful, uncomfortable or invasive initial test such as a colonoscopy.
“Many patients, particularly men – who are more prone to colorectal cancers than women – are embarrassed to visit the doctor with their symptoms. ColoAlert removes this barrier by allowing at-home testing that can either put minds at rest or rapidly increase the course of treatment in order to save lives.”