Professor Wendy Atkin, OBE - bowel cancer screening pioneer

The world has recently lost a true pioneer of bowel cancer screening: Professor Wendy Atkin, OBE.

Professor Atkin developed the flexible sigmoidoscopy, which uses a flexible tube and camera to enable examination of the lower (sigmoid) colon and the removal at the same time of any polyps discovered - a procedure which soon became part of the NHS screening programme.

The Times newspaper reports that “In an interview with Imperial Magazine last year Atkin spoke about how early detection of bowel cancer was far more cost-effective than treatment, and how there was still much more research to be done. “The fact remains, many people who develop bowel cancer, many of those who die from it, do not need to,” she said. “Bowel cancer can be prevented. The more effective, and the more efficient our screening programmes, the more people can be saved.”

You can read more about Professor Atkin’s life and outstanding contribution to colon cancer detection in her obituary in The Times at: