COVID-19 and bowel screening
The National Bowel Screening Programme is restarting in a staggered way.
Invitations and kits
If you completed a bowel screening test before the COVID-19 lock down, your test will have been processed and you will be informed of the result.
If you received a bowel screening test kit and were advised to put it aside until further notice, it is now safe to complete it and send it back.
If your test result was positive
If you were notified that your test result was positive, you will be contacted by your DHB to schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy. DHBs are giving priority to people needing urgent investigation and then moving on to people who have had a positive screening test, so there may be a delay before you receive your appointment.
We know this may cause you some concern but remember 92 out of 100 people who have a positive screening test won’t have bowel cancer.
A colonoscopy is recommended within three months of having a positive result and that will always be our aim but where a person is not experiencing symptoms, this time frame may be extended as bowel cancer is usually slow growing.
If you are experiencing possible symptoms of bowel cancer, such as a change in your normal bowel habit that continues for several weeks or blood in your bowel motion (poo), it is important to seek advice from your family doctor, who will refer you for urgent assessment and treatment.
Re-starting screening invitations
In DHBs offering bowel screening, new screening invitations will begin to be sent out again from 11 June.
If you turned 75 while the National Bowel Screening Programme was on hold, you will be offered an opportunity to participate in screening, even though you are now over the usual cut off age of 74.
Thank you for your patience during this challenging time.