How we test
How we test for disease
Bowel Cancer Screening
The most easily treatable of all life-threatening cancers, yet also the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK, bowel cancer can be completely cured if detected early enough.
The national screening programme for bowel cancer involves checking for traces of blood in a faecal (stool) sample, followed by colonoscopy (using a camera to inspect the entire large intestine) for those people testing positive.
However, about half of such cancers do not bleed and will be missed by stool tests. Delays in detection may allow the disease to spread to other organs. Colonoscopy is a definitive large bowel test but it is relatively invasive and uncomfortable, often requiring sedation.
The Advanced Screening Centre difference: CT Colonography
Less invasive than colonoscopy, CTC uses low-dose CT scans to provide 3D images of the bowel to help detect polyps, the precursor of cancer. In expert hands it is safe and just as accurate, while avoiding the need for strong laxatives.
What happens if we detect bowel cancer symptoms?
If polyps are found, then it is often important to have them removed – which does involve a targeted colonoscopy, guided by information from the CTC. We can help with fast-track referral to an expert colonoscopist or bowel specialist, sometimes on the same day.