Bowel cancer screening programme

The Bowel Cancer Screening Programme invites men and women between the ages of 60 and 69 to take part in bowel screening every two years.

The screening is undertaken by individuals performing a Faecal Occult Blood Test at home. The tests are then sent for analysis. If there is a positive result, the patient will be referred for investigations at their local screening centre.

How is it organised?

The programme is organised by splitting the country into areas. Each area of the country has a programme “hub” and a number of screening centres. For the Sussex Cancer Network, our hub is in Guildford. The screening centres are:

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust

The local programme is hosted by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust for administrative purposes.

The hub:

  • provides the call and recall service which issues invitations
  • assembles and dispatches test kits
  • runs a laboratory to process test kits
  • provides a free telephone helpline for the public
  • dispatches test results
  • facilitates polyp surveillance for screening patients

The screening centres:

  • run screening nurse clinics, colonoscopy clinics and books and runs follow-up clinics
  • provides alternative investigations where colonoscopy is not appropriate
  • provides pathology services
  • refers those requiring treatment for cancer to their local colorectal multi-disciplinary team.

What is the pathway?

All individuals with positive test results will be invited to attend a nurse clinic appointment for full discussion of the next steps of the process. This appointment will include an explanation of the investigative procedure to be undertaken usually a colonoscopy.

Conquest Hospital and The Royal Sussex County Hospital are accredited endoscopy units who provide colonoscopy for patients referred through the bowel cancer screening programme. Currently, the endoscopy unit at Eastbourne DGH has not been accredited so patients will need to travel to Conquest Hospital.

Who do I need to contact if I have questions?

Free national helpline – 0800 707 60 60

Local queries should be directed to (01273) 523404