Bowel Cancer Screening
The Tees screening centre provides the NHS bowel cancer screening service for men and women across Teesside and parts of County Durham and North Yorkshire.
We know that people may be embarrassed to talk about their bowels, but this screening programme ensures that you can access screening in the privacy of your own home.
If you are between the ages of 60 and 74 you will receive a simple test kit which involves collecting a sample from your bowel motion and, using a specially designed prepaid envelope, returning the kit to the laboratory for analysis. The sample will be analysed for tiny traces of blood and will indicate whether further tests are required.
If the results do show any blood, our team of specialist nurses will see you in a local clinic within two weeks. They will answer any questions that you may have and explain the next steps. They will assess your fitness for further investigations at the University Hospital of North Tees.
The test is designed to indicate the possibility of the presence of bowel cancer and to prevent this at an early stage by removing pre-cancerous growths, called polyps from the bowel. If bowel cancer is diagnosed at this early stage then more than 90 in 100 people will be cured by surgical removal of the tumour.
Once people are aged 75 or over they no longer receive the test automatically but can opt in by calling the free phone number 0800 707 6060.
“We strive to provide a high quality, patient-centred bowel screening service, aiming to protect our local community from dying of bowel cancer” – Team mission statement
Bowel scope screening if you’re 55
People aged 55 will be invited to have their lower bowel checked for signs of pre-cancer. The test, which takes five to 10 minutes, is called bowel scope screening, or flexible sigmoidoscopy. It involves passing a soft, flexible tube into the bottom to have a look at the bowel. If pre-cancerous growths called polyps are found, they can usually be removed during the test.
Early diagnosis and awareness of symptoms are so important, so if any problems are picked up we can give you the best chance of treatment. The longer you leave cancer to develop – the more difficult it is to treat, but the sooner you do something about it the better chance you have of a good recovery.
Having lost my own father and a friend to bowel cancer, I didn’t hesitate when the test came through.
Signs of bowel cancer
You should look out for loose poo for more than three weeks or blood in your poo.
You can help yourself by:
- cutting down on smoking and drinking
- making sure you have a healthy diet
It’s vital not to ignore the warning signs of bowel cancer – don’t wait for screening if you have symptoms. However, if you have no symptoms and are offered bowel screening, it is important to take advantage of the test – a couple of minutes of your time could save your life.
Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm
Tees Bowel Screening Service
University Hospital of North Tees