"Bowel cancer which might have been picked up early enough to avoid major surgery."

About: East Anglia Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / Gastroenterology Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

In about 2004, in the N&N after a hernia operation, the doctors offered me a first examination of the bowel and this led to a recommendation for a colonoscopy. This was done, and some polyps were found and removed. There was a repeat colonoscopy about a year later and then I was informed there would be no further follow-up examinations.

I now have learned that the policy decision of the N&N is not to carry these out after the age of 75. Only the vigilance of my GP, who noticed anaemia in April 2013 and recommended a further examination, led to a diagnosis of colon cancer and finally its removal in September 2013.

Why, when there is apparent risk, are regular examinations not carried out, regardless of age? Apart from the consequences to the patient of major surgery, surely regular examinations of at-risk patients would be more cost-effective than surgery?

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Response from Janice Bradfield, Senior Communications and Membership Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are sorry to hear that you did not receive regular follow ups and we have sent your comment to our colleagues in bowel cancer screening. If you would like us to respond to you in detail, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on pals@nnuh.nhs.uk

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