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Bowel screening and coronavirus

Due to the high level of COVID-19 in the community, bowel screening capacity is reduced

BowelScreen is continuing to receive and process samples from home testing kits. If you have received a kit, please return as normal.

Completed home screening test kits and lab reports continue to be processed.

Some colonoscopy appointments will not go ahead at this time. 

If we need to reschedule your appointment we will contact you to let you know. 

If you have received an invite for a colonoscopy and do not hear from us, you should go to your appointment as planned. 

You can also check with your hospital to confirm if you should attend. 

We will continue to closely review public health advice to make sure conditions remain safe for you and our staff.

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.

Colonoscopy appointments

A nurse will contact you to arrange your colonoscopy and advise you on the COVID-19 measures in the hospital.

These changes may include:

  • your nurse or doctor wearing some personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • having to wait outside until it’s time for your appointment
  • fewer people in your healthcare building
  • waiting a little longer for your appointment

Please follow the hospital and Public Health advice in relation to attending hospital appointments.

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 - using the toilet more often, with looser stools and sometimes tummy (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 do not have cancer.

For example:

  • a change in bowel habit or tummy 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

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