Bowel screening and coronavirus
Invites to eligible people are now being issued on a phased basis.
BowelScreen is currently attending to those whose procedures were postponed due to COVID-19.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When screening resumes
We plan to restart BowelScreen in September/October. Please check back for updates.
You'll be able to register for bowel screening when we restart.