Bowel Screening

NCA is committed to increasing uptake of the cancer screening programmes.

Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs of disease.

It can save lives by finding cancers at an early stage, or even preventing them. Screening is not the same as the tests a person may have when doctors are diagnosing or treating cancer.

For screening to be useful the tests:

  • need to be reliable at picking up cancers or abnormalities that could lead to cancer
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part
  • must be something that people are willing to do
Benefits and risks of bowel screening

We know that cancer screening saves thousands of lives each year. It can detect cancers at an early stage and in some cases, even prevent cancers from developing in the first place.

Bowel cancer screening aims to check for bowel cancer or abnormalities that could lead to bowel cancer. The screening tests include:

  • testing for blood in your poo
  • looking inside your bowel using a scope (flexible sigmoidoscopy)

For more information on Bowel screening

Bowel screening flagging for people with a learning disability

The How to guide describes how to set up the bowel screening flagging project. It gives a clear process to follow and discusses challenges and limitations. This document includes the updated consent to share information advice.

LD bowel flagging how to guide

Promoting access to cancer screening for people with a learning disability

A social care guidance and resource pack for providers of learning disability services.

Cancer Screening – Support for people with a Learning Disability
Public Health England Publications – Bowel Screening:

An easy guide to having a CTC scan – An easy read guide to explain what happens during a CTC scan, developed by and for people with learning disabilities. To access a copy click here.

An easy guide to having a colonoscopy – A leaflet on the colonoscopy procedure, developed by and for people with learning disabilities. To access a copy click here.

Helping people with learning disabilities – Information for health professionals to support people with learning disabilities to access bowel cancer screening. To access a copy click here.

Patient Screening Information – Easy Read Formats

Public Health England produced easy read patient information for bowel screening, please click here to access a copy.

The PHE Screening team

Public Health England (PHE) existed to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It closed on 30 September 2021 and this blog is no longer updated.

Find out more about the implications for health screening in our Changes ahead for the national screening system blog article.

If you want to stay in touch with screening evidence and policy news, you can subscribe to the UK National Screening Committee blog.