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Coronavirus: Stay at home

Health information and advice to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Bowel screening and coronavirus

Bowel screening is paused until further notice. It will begin again when it is safe to do so.

This is because of:

  • Government's advice to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus
  • redeployment of staff and resources to support the response to coronavirus

We will pause:

  • invitations to screening
  • investigations into positive test results
  • all colonoscopy appointments

You can contact BowelScreen on Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

If you are worried about symptoms of bowel cancer, phone your GP. Never ignore your symptoms.

Home screening test kit 

Due to the coronavirus outbreak we are not sending out any new screening home test kits.

We will update this web page when we are able to send these again

Any completed kits will still be processed and reports issued by the lab. if your result is positive, you would not be able to have any further investigation until the programme resumes.

The programme will start again when it is safe to do so. We will contact you at that time to advise on what happens next. 

You may prefer to wait to do your kit and send it to us when the bowel screening programme starts again.

Home screening test kits

 Colonoscopy appointments

All colonoscopy appointments have been postponed. You will not be able to have any further investigation until after the pause has been lifted.

The programme will start again when it is safe to do so. We will contact you at that time to advise on what happens next. 

Colonoscopy after bowel screening

Symptoms  - phone your GP

It is important to remember that 9 out of every 10 people with blood in their bowel motions (poo) will not have cancer. Blood in your poo could be caused by small growths called polyps or other conditions such as haemorrhoids (piles). 

Being aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer is still very important. Symptoms include:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit. Going more often, with looser stools and sometimes stomach (abdominal) pain
  • blood in your poo especially if mixed through the stool. This makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids (piles)
  • stomach pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating. This can sometimes result in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss

Bowel cancer symptoms are also very common, and most people with them don't have cancer. For example:

  • a change in bowel habit or abdominal pain is usually the result of something you've eaten
  • a change in bowel habit to going less often, with harder poo, is not usually caused by any serious condition. It may be worth trying laxatives before seeing your GP
  • constipation, where you pass harder stools less often
  • fresh blood often separate from your poo or coating the stool. This, when associated with pain or soreness is more often caused by piles or a simple tear (fissure)

These symptoms should be taken more seriously as you get older and when they persist despite simple treatments. If you notice any of them, please contact your GP. 

 Bowel cancer symptoms

When screening resumes

We will let you know when we are offering bowel screening again. We will update this web page.

You'll be able to register for bowel screening when the time comes.

page last reviewed: 09/04/2020
next review due: 09/04/2023