Bowel Cancer Screening
On this page:
St George’s Hospital’s Bowel Cancer Screening Centre is responsible for delivering Bowel Cancer Screening services to the population of South West London, which includes the following boroughs; Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth.
Bowel Cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is a form of cancer that affects the large bowel. The bowel is made of up the colon and the rectum; cancer can start in either of these parts of the bowel. Bowel Cancer is considered a major health problem in the UK – it is the fourth most common cancer and the second biggest cancer killer.
FIT Bowel Cancer Screening
Bowel Scope Screening
FIT Bowel Cancer Screening
The National Bowel Cancer Screening is offered to men and women, every two years, between the ages of 60-74. There is now a new test kit being used, called the FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) kit.
The FIT kit is a small sample tube that comes with a sample stick attached to the cap of the tube. The process of using this kit involves scraping the sample stick along your poo, until all grooves are covered, and then placing it back inside the sample tube to be sent off to the London regional BCSP HUB, for testing.
A positive test may indicate the presence of bowel cancer, and will automatically generate a referral to the Screening Centre. This referral appointment will involve the patient being seen by a Specialist Screening Practitioner, where the FIT results are reviewed and the option for an endoscopic investigation is discussed; patients will be offered a colonoscopy appointment within 14 days of the Specialist Screening Practitioner appointment. The endoscopic procedure will be performed by an accredited Bowel Cancer Screening endoscopist.
Approximately 1 in 10 of those referred for an endoscopic investigation has bowel cancer identified.
Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an earlier stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful. Screening can also help to prevent the development of bowel cancer by the removal of pre-cancerous growths in the bowel, called polyps.
National Bowel Scope Screening
The Bowel Scope Screening (BoSS) programme runs concurrently with, and is complementary to, the current FIT screening programme. This is a new form of bowel cancer screening, which is being implemented across England.
Bowel Scope Screening is also known as a ‘flexible-sigmoidoscopy’. It is a one-off endoscopic examination of the lower part of the large bowel, offered to all men and women at the age of 55, who are registered with a GP. It takes around ten minutes and is not painful, but some patients find it uncomfortable.
The Bowel Scope examination allows any polyps that are detected, to be removed before they have a chance to develop into a bowel cancer. It is estimated that by the age of 50, about 1 in 4 of the UK population will have at least one polyp. By removing these polyps, it is anticipated that future levels of bowel cancer will decline.
Evidence shows that for men and women aged 55 – 60 (who have not been invited for FIT Screening) who attend a one-off BSS test, mortality from bowel cancer in this age group can be reduced by 43% (31% on an invited population basis) and incidence can be reduced by 33% (23% on a population basis).
The first BoSS invitations for the South West London region were sent out to the population of Wandsworth in 2014, to attend for BoSS at St George’s Hospital. In 2015, the population of Richmond was invited to attend Queen Mary’s Hospital – Roehampton and in 2017, the Sutton population was invited to attend Epsom Hospital.
In 2019, BoSS was rolled out to 50% of Merton, and is delivered from St George’s Hospital until the service is implemented at St Helier Hospital. In January 2020, the South West London Bowel Cancer Screening Centre went live with BoSS for the Croydon population, delivered from Croydon University Hospital.
Dr Gareth Sadler, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Director of SWL Bowel Cancer Screening at St Georges’ NHS Trust, said:
“Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of all cancer deaths in the UK, but if caught early, treatment can be more effective and deaths can be reduced.
The bowel scope programme helps to identify the presence of polyps in the bowel. Over time, if left untreated, these can develop into bowel cancer. Removing polyps during bowel scope screening can help prevent bowel cancer developing.
Many people find anything to do with their bowel embarrassing and this makes them reluctant to have screening. However it is very important and I would encourage everyone who is invited to come for their appointment, it could save their life.”
Dr Gareth Sadler
Dr Andrew Poullis
Dr Chris Groves
Dr John Louis-Auguste
Mr Roger Leicester
Mr Ian Bloom
Dr Gareth Sadler
Mrs Libby Shepherd
Mr Mark Perry
Ms Tabinda Sultan
Ms Nena Galjak
Mr Simon Moodie
Specialist Screening Practitioners
Sofia Ana Pinto Perdigao
Dr Gareth Sadler – Director of South West London Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
Saidah Labadie – Programme Manager, South West London Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
Bethan Williams – Lead Specialist Screening Practitioner, South West London Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
Danielle Whiter (nee Bunce) – Senior Administrator, South West London Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
Lisa-Lyna Abangma – Health Improvement Specialist, South West London Bowel Cancer Screening Programme