Ninewells researchers find mortality link with blood in stools

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A team of researchers based at the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine at Ninewells have shown that blood in stools may indicate a range of chronic diseases.

Professor Bob Steele, who led the introduction of the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme in NHS Tayside, carried out a study of patients with a positive faecal occult blood test and found that they were much more likely to die not only from colorectal cancer but also a range of other cancers and diseases.

Faecal bleeding was significantly associated with increased risk of dying from circulatory disease, respiratory disease, digestive diseases, neuropsychological disease, blood and endocrine disease and non-colorectal cancer.

While further research into the links between faecal bleeding and these diseases is required, Professor Steele hopes it could one day be used to reduce the risk of premature mortality and to explore the underlying reasons for different patterns of mortality across the world.

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