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Bowel Cancer Screening

Free telephone helpline: 0800 707 60 60

NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme


The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme was introduced across England between 2006 and 2010.

In January 2010, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust successfully became a part of the national programme, providing screening services across the county at the John Radcliffe Hospital and the Horton General Hospital.

Why screening is important

Bowel cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world and the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK (Cancer Research UK, 2021. Cancerstats).

About one in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Regular bowel screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 percent (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2006).

Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.

Screening is for people without symptoms. If you are concerned about any symptoms, please contact your GP.

Symptoms: bowel cancer - NHS website

Types of screening tests

Home screening test - Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

Everyone aged 60 to 74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit - also called a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT).

The test will require you to collect a small sample of your poo and post this back to our laboratories so that it can be checked for tiny amounts of blood (which may be caused by polyp growth and or cancer).

If the test results show anything unusual, we may ask you to have further tests.

If you are 75 or over, please request a home screening kit every two years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline.

Free bowel cancer screening helpline: 0800 707 60 60

Instructions come with the kit and are on the website:

Bowel cancer screening kit: how to use

What the results mean

Most people (98 percent) who complete the FIT test will receive a 'normal' result. A normal result means there was no blood detected.

This does not guarantee that you do not have or will never develop bowel cancer in the future, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

Symptoms: bowel cancer - NHS website

If you have received a 'normal' result, you will not require any further investigations. We will automatically offer you bowel cancer screening again in two years, until you reach the age of 74.

Around two percent of people who complete the FIT test will have an 'abnormal' result. This means there may have been blood detected. It is not a diagnosis of cancer, but it does mean you will require further investigation.

Some reasons for an 'abnormal' test result may be bleeding bowel polyps, fissures or other conditions, such as haemorrhoids (piles).

If you have received an 'abnormal' FIT test result, we will offer you an appointment with one of our Specialist Screening Practitioner (SSP) nurses.

The SSP nurse will assess your suitability for a diagnostic colonoscopy, which is an examination of the lining of the large bowel (colon) using a tiny camera on the end of a flexible tube, and book your appointment.

The initial appointment with our SSP nurse is a telephone appointment, so please ensure your contact details are up- to-date with your GP. In some circumstances we offer face to face assessment at one of our screening centres.

Colonoscopy investigations take place in the Endoscopy Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital or Horton General Hospital.

Our team

Prof James East

Prof James East
Clinical Director, Consultant Gastroenterologist

Stephanie Eyles
Programme Manager

Screening Consultants

  • Dr Vincent Cheung
    Consultant Gastroenterologist
  • Dr Elizabeth Bird-Lieberman
    Consultant Gastroenterologist
  • Dr Rebecca Palmer
    Consultant Gastroenterologist
  • Mr Stephen Boyce
    Colorectal Consultant Surgeon, Clinical Lead
  • Dr Alissa Walsh
    Consultant Gastroenterologist

Nursing Staff

  • Jill Weeks
    Specialist Screening Practitioner Lead
  • Mary Blascik
    Specialist Screening Practitioner
  • Lucy Brown
    Specialist Screening Practitioner
  • Tomide Eniola
    Specialist Screening Practitioner
  • Rutendo Makoni
    Specialist Screening Practitioner
  • Ekaterina Micheva
    Specialist Screening Practitioner
  • Nellia Sande
    Specialist Screening Pratitioner
  • Claire Seccull
    Specialist Screening Practitioner

Administration Staff

  • Lewis Charlett
    Lead Administrator
  • Karen Clark
  • Viktoria Kovacs

Contact us

Oxfordshire Bowel Cancer Screening Centre

John Radcliffe Hospital Screening Office: 01865 220087

Horton General Hospital Screening Office: 01295 229834

Monday to Friday 8.00am - 4.00pm


Bowel Cancer Screening Southern Hub

Free telephone helpline: 0800 707 60 60



Overview: bowel cancer - NHS website

NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

Last reviewed:12 March 2024