Bowel Scope Screening at 55 years

Under guidance from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, St Mark’s Bowel Cancer Screening Centre suspended bowel scope screening due to the COVID pandemic in March. At that time we hoped to be in a position to resume this service and offer appointments. We have successfully commenced recovery of our bowel cancer screening services to 60-74 yrs through a home testing kit (FIT kit).

We are currently unable to resume the bowel scope screening service as with additional social distancing measures and enhanced infection control procedures we cannot achieve a flow which would allow us to resume invitations and appointments.

The National Screening Team is reviewing the bowel scope screening service and we are aware that they have made a recommendation to the National Screening Committee to not resume this service. Whilst this maybe disappointing for you we hope this will be the catalyst to lower the age we offer screening using the home testing kit as a replacement for bowel scope screening in the future.

The home testing kit detects traces of blood in bowel motions and currently is only available to people aged 60 and over.

The national screening team are reviewing options and as soon as we have national direction we will update our local GP’s and our website.

We encourage you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer and to visit your GP if you have any concerns. The main symptoms to look out for are:

  • A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going to the toilet more often or having diarrhoea for several weeks

  • Bleeding from the back passage without any obvious reason

  • Abdominal pain, especially if severe

  • A lump in your abdomen

​Please remember that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer, but if you have one or more of these symptoms for four to six weeks, you should see your GP.​


National Bowel Screening Hub Helpline: 0800 707 6060 to order a home-test kit, book an appointment, and general inquiries about bowel screening. Open 9am to 5pm.

St. Mark's Bowel Screening Health Promotion: 020 8869 3376 to speak to the Health Promotion team to arrange a talk, training session or raise awareness

St Mark's Hospital website


St Mark’s Hospital
Watford Road
Harrow HA1 3UJ

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