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Bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer screening can help detect bowel cancer before symptoms have presented themselves, helping to ensure an early diagnosis.


Bowel cancer screening is a type of screening designed to detect and diagnose bowel cancer (also referred to as colon cancer). Diagnosing and treating bowel cancer in its early stages can help to increase a patient’s chances of recovery.

Why should I have a bowel cancer screen?

Bowel cancer screening can help detect bowel cancer before symptoms have presented themselves, helping to ensure an early diagnosis. Screening can even help prevent bowel cancer, as it may detect small growths in the bowel called polyps. These polyps may eventually turn into cancer if they are not removed. So by having a bowel screen, you may be able to detect polyps before cancer has developed.

What does the bowel cancer screening involve?

There are a number of screening options. These are reviewed on a patient-by-patient basis through a personal discussion with a specialist consultant. An example of the screening methods that can take place are: 

  • Stool Testing- a test which detects blood hidden in small samples of faeces (poo)
  • Colonoscopy - a long flexible tube with a light and tiny camera is inserted through your back passage and examines the lining of your bowel 
  • Virtual Colonoscopy- an investigative procedure which involves using a CT scanner to produce two and three-dimensional images of the large bowel and rectum 
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy - a procedure using an endoscopy, which allows the consultant to see inside the rectum and up into the lower part of the bowel.

At what age should I have a bowel screening test?

If you are presenting symptoms, it doesn’t matter what age you are, you should go to your GP to discuss your symptoms. Your GP may arrange further investigation and referral onto a consultant bowel surgeon at Circle Health. If you are not presenting symptoms, the age at which screening should start depends largely on family history and the number and age of affected relatives. 

The NHS offers bowel scope screening to all men and women aged 55. If you fall into this category, you should participate. 

However, if you are: 

  • not eligible but you are worried about bowel cancer 
  • have a family history of bowel cancer or polyps 
  • worried about any other abdominal or bowel problems 

Please contact our bowel cancer screening clinics, to book an appointment to discuss these issues or any related concerns. You will be seen promptly to discuss the best investigative option for you.

At Circle Health, we provide bowel cancer care, from screening to bowel cancer treatment, to support you throughout your journey. 

Paying for your treatment

Please check whether your insurer covers the cost of bowel cancer screening before booking your appointment. If the costs are not covered by your insurer, there are pay for yourself options available. All costs will be explained in writing.

For further information or to book a consultation or treatment, please get in touch with our cancer enquiries team: Call us on 0800 157 7747

Content reviewed: October 2014

Specialists offering Bowel cancer screening

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Dr Ehoud (Udi) Shmueli

Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist


Three Shires Hospital

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Dr Iqbal Khan

Consultant Gastroenterologist

BSc (Dual Hons), MBChB, PhD, CertMedEd, FRCP (Edin)

Three Shires Hospital

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Mr Ugochukwu Ihedioha

Consultant Laparoscopic General and Colorectal Surgeon


Three Shires Hospital

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Mr Khalil Khalil

Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon


Three Shires Hospital

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Dr Sandeep Bajwa

Consultant Gastroenterologist

MBBS, FRCP London), Cert Med Ed

Three Shires Hospital

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Dr Roshan Agarwal

Consultant Medical Oncologist

BSc(Hons), MBChB(Hons), MRCP, FRCP, PhD

Three Shires Hospital

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