The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69. People over 70 can request a screening kit by calling a freephone helpline when the programme reaches their area. GPs are not directly involved in the delivery of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme but they will be notified when invitations for bowel cancer screening are being sent out in their area. They will also receive a copy of the results letters sent to their patients.
About one in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime. It is the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year. Regular bowel cancer screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent.
Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective. Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing
For further bowel screening information please visit the NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/bowel-cancer-screening/Pages/Introduction.aspx
BOWEL SCOPE SCREENING
Bowel scope screening is a new test for people aged 55 where a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is used to look inside your bowel.
It's done to look for and remove any small growths called polyps. These could eventually turn into cancer if they're not removed.
The test is also called a flexible sigmoidoscopy or "flexisig".
When it’s offered:
Bowel scope screening is being rolled out to all men and women in England aged 55. Depending on where you live, it may not be offered in your area yet.
If you're registered with a GP and live in an area where the test is available, you'll automatically be sent an invitation. Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 to check if it's available in your area.
It's a one-off test, and you'll only be invited to have it once.
If you decide not to have the test straight away, you can have it at any point up to your 60th birthday. Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 to arrange an appointment.
From 60 onwards, you'll be invited to do a bowel cancer screening home test kit every 2 years instead.