Bowel screening

BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme is delivered by the National Screening Service. 
 

  1. What is bowel screening?
  2. Taking part in BowelScreen
  3. How is the BowelScreen home test done?
  4. Consent
  5. Can I have a test if I am aged under 60 or over 69 years?
  6. I have concerns or symptoms should I wait to get my invitation?
  7. If I have a current bowel condition or had recent surgery - should I take part in BowelScreen at this time?
  8. Results
  9. What quality measures are in place?
  10. What happens if I do not wish to take part in the programme

What is bowel screening?

Bowel screening aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people who have no symptoms. Bowel screening is a simple home test (called a FIT - faecal immunochemical test) that looks for tiny amounts of blood, which are not visible to the eye, in your bowel motion (also known as a stool). Blood in the stool can be due to a number of causes or minor conditions. But it can also be an early warning sign that something might be wrong. The bowel screening test does not tell you if you have bowel cancer but it might tell you that you need more tests.

BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme will send an invitation to men and women aged 60 to 69. As the risk of bowel cancer increases with age, by taking part in the programme every two years, it is more possible that if bowel cancer occurs it will be found at an early stage when there is a much better chance of treating it successfully.

Bowel screening may also find other changes in the bowel, such as polyps. Polyps are small growths that are not cancer but, if not removed, might turn into cancer over time. If polyps are found, they can be removed easily.

If you have any concerns about your bowel health or symptoms (see list of symptoms) you should contact your GP (family doctor) immediately.

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Taking part in BowelScreen

The BowelScreen programme will send an invitation to men and women aged 60 to 69 years to take part in the programme.

If you are aged between 60 to 69 years and living in Ireland, you can ring BowelScreen on Freephone 1800 45 45 55 to check your details are on the register. When your details are on the register you will, within two years, receive an invitation to take part in the BowelScreen programme. It may take up to two years for all people on the register to receive an invitation. You can also check the register online here.

In the meantime if you have any concerns or symptoms at any time please see your GP (family doctor).

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How is the BowelScreen home test done?

You do the test in your own home. The programme will send you a letter asking you to take part in the bowel screening programme. When you get a letter and you want to take part, call us on Freephone 1800 45 45 55. A BowelScreen home test kit will be sent to you in the post with instructions about how to do the test.

You will need to produce a stool (bowel motion) and collect a sample on a sampling stick provided in your BowelScreen home test kit. A small sample is all that is needed. There is no need to be embarrassed. It will only take one visit to the toilet. It is quick, easy and painless.

Please ensure that the label is dated with the day the sample was taken as this is very important.

It is free to post the sample in the Freepost envelope provided.

If you have any problems or need more information you can call Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

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Consent

By giving your expressed consent you have agreed to take part in BowelScreen programme and do a home test. You also allow BowelScreen to recieve , hold and use your personal details and information about your BowelScreen clinical record. BowelScreen will share this information with your GP (family doctor), the colonoscopy clinic and the National Cancer Register.

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Can I have a test if I am aged under 60 or over 69 years?

No. BowelScreen currently offer bowel screening to men and women aged 60 to 69.

Anyone who has any concerns, or experiences possible symptoms of bowel cancer should contact their GP (family doctor) immediately.

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I have concerns or symptoms should I wait to get my invitation?

No. If you have any concerns or have one or more of the possible symptoms of bowel cancer, you should see your GP (family doctor) immediately. Do not wait to receive your BowelScreen home test.

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If I have a current bowel condition or had recent surgery - should I take part in BowelScreen at this time?

Yes. If you are currently having treatment or have had a bowel condition or surgery or indeed you are concerned for other medical reasons, you should ask your GP (family doctor) for further advice on whether it is appropriate for you to take part in the BowelScreen programme at this time.

 

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Results

Once you have sent back your test sample, you will get a letter with the results of your BowelScreen home test in four weeks. 95% of people will have a normal result.

We offer a colonoscopy to everyone who has a BowelScreen home test result showing traces of blood not visible to the eye. A colonoscopy is the best way to diagnose bowel cancer and other conditions.

A colonoscopy is carried out in a screening colonoscopy unit in a hospital organised by BowelScreen.

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What quality measures are in place?

The Quality Assurance Guidelines for Colorectal Screening are a set of processes and standards to support the national programme. Developed by experienced medical and surgical consultants. A quality assurance committe supports the ongoing quality assurance standards.

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What happens if I do not wish to take part in the programme

Please let us know if you do not wish to take part in the programme by contacting us on Freephone: 1800 45 45 55  and we will make a note of this and send you a letter confirming that we won’t contact you again unless you ask us to.

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Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é BowelScreen BowelScreen is part of the National Screening Service
Teach Óstaí an Rí, 200 Sráid Parnell, Baile Átha Cliath 1, Éire King’s Inns House, 200 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55 Freephone 1800 45 45 55
   

Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive in Ireland. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.