London - A major research project is under way to try to identify the genes that make Ashkenazi Jews disproportionately susceptible to bowel cancer.
"It is said that the risk of bowel cancer for Ashkenazi Jews is two or three times that of the general white Western population," said Professor Ian Tomlinson, of Cancer Research UK, which is co-sponsoring the research with the ABC (Ashkenazi Bowel Cancer) study group.
The group is appealing to members of the Jewish community to give blood for a study which they hope will eventually make it easier to prevent the disease.
"In principle, it is entirely preventable because almost all bowel cancers develop from benign polyps, which can be removed," Prof Tomlinson said.
To take part in the study, candidates need to give a small blood sample and complete a short medical questionnaire. The results will remain confidential and be disclosed neither to the donor nor their doctor. [thejc]
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