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Bowel screening

About the national NHS bowel cancer screening programme

Bowel screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms) when treatment is more likely to be effective.

The Bowel Scope Screening Programme

Men and women at age 55 (who are registered with a GP) are invited to take part in a one off test called a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Dependent on the result of this, you may be referred for further tests or recalled at age 60.

The FOBt Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

The FOBt Bowel Cancer Screening Programme invites men and women between the ages of 60 and 74 (who are registered with a GP) to take part in bowel screening every two years.

You will be sent a faecal occult blood sampling kit and instructions about how to take a sample. You will also receive instructions about how to send the sample to a laboratory.

If there is a positive result, you will be referred for investigations at your local screening centre.

Find out more about the national screening programme

The programme is delivered from a hub in Guildford (for invitations and home tests) and then your local hospital provides the clinical aspects of the pathway.

We host the screening centre for the Sussex Bowel Cancer Screening Programme with screening sites at:

At the screening centre, we:

  • run screening nurse clinics, colonoscopy clinics and book and run follow-up clinics
  • provide alternative investigations where colonoscopy is not appropriate
  • provides pathology services
  • refers those requiring treatment for cancer to their local colorectal multi-disciplinary team.

The hub in Guildford:

  • issues invitations and assembles and dispatches test kits
  • runs a laboratory to process test kits
  • provides a free telephone helpline for the public (0800 707 60 60)
  • dispatches test results
  • facilitates polyp surveillance for screening patients.

FOBt Programme

If you receive positive test results you will be invited to attend a nurse clinic appointment, within 14 days of positive result, for full discussion of the next steps of the process. This appointment will include an explanation of the investigative procedure to be undertaken, usually a colonoscopy, which will also be within 14 days of clinic appointment.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and the Conquest Hospital in Hastings are accredited endoscopy units who provide colonoscopy for patients referred through the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. Nurse led clinics are held at these sites in addition to Bexhill and Eastbourne Hospital.

Bowel scope Programme

Presently only Brighton undertakes flexible sigmoidoscopy for Bowel Scope patients. Rollout of this programme across the the centres will take until mid-2018.

Free national helpline – 0800 707 60 60

About a colonoscopy:

National NHS Bowel Cancer Screening website

For patients who have already started the pathway there is a dedicated email for questions relating to their endoscopic procedure or post procedure care  –

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