Understanding your bowel screening results
Negative test result
If your test result is negative this means that you do not need any further investigation at this time.
It’s important to note that:
- the screening test detects blood in your bowel motion, and some cancers do not bleed all of the time. This means that cancer can sometimes be missed
- bowel cancer may start to develop between screening tests.
This is why regular screening is important.
You will be invited for screening again in two years, if you are still eligible.
If you develop any symptoms of bowel cancer, it is important that you talk to your doctor.
Positive test result
A positive test result does not necessarily mean you have bowel cancer.
The screening test can detect tiny traces of blood present in your bowel motion (poo).
Small amounts of blood are most commonly caused by polyps (growths), or other minor conditions such as haemorrhoids (piles), which can easily be treated.
If your test is positive it means you will need a further investigation. This will usually be a colonoscopy.
Your doctor or a nurse will contact you to discuss your results and the type of follow-up test that is right for you.
If you have a family history of bowel cancer, you may be advised to see your doctor, or be referred to the New Zealand Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Service.