A-Z of services

Bowel screening

Coronavirus - Covid-19 Update

Due to COVID -19 there may be a delay in receiving your bowel screening FIT test kit.

If you have any of the following symptoms please contact your GP:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain

  • blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids

  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss


The South of Tyne Bowel Cancer Screening Programme manages two bowel screening programmes in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

There are two different screening programmes offering screening to different age groups. The screening is offered to both men and women.

Bowel Scope Screening is a one off test that is offered at age 55, however if you have missed your appointment and would like to be screened you can make a new appointnment at any time up until the age of 60, by contacting us on the free phone number 0800 707 60 60.  The test uses a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end to look at the large bowel. It can find and remove small growths called polyps from the bowel. polyps do not usually cause any syptoms but some might turn into cancer if they are not removed. Bowel scope screening is done by a specially trained nurse or doctor at an NHS bowel cancer screening centre. Bowel scope screening looks at the lower part of the large bowel because that’s where most polyps are found.

The new FIT (faecal immunochemical test) kit, has now replaced the FOB (faecal occult blood) home test kit and is sent every two years from age 60 - 74. However people over that age are more than welcome to continue with screening every two years by contacting us on the free phone number 0800 707 60 60 and requesting a kit. FIT is a simple stool test that you complete at home, designed to identify possible signs of bowel disease. It can detect tiny amounts of blood in your sample. Many bowel abnormalities which may develop into cancer over time, are more likely to bleed than normal tissue.

Both programmes are managed by the South of Tyne Bowel Cancer Screening Programme with national guidance from the NHS Cancer Screening Services who are part of Health England. They provide a complete screening service and manage the freephone number which deals with enquiries regarding the bowel cancer screening programme.

Bowel cancer screening aims to detect pre cancer bowel growths and bowel cancers at an early stage (in people with no symptoms) and reduce deaths from bowel cancer.

Male patient having treatment and smiling at nurse

About 1 in 15 men (7%) and 1 in 18 women (6%)  in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime. It is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year.

If you have any questions about the bowel cancer screening programme, have missed  your screening and would now like to take part, or want to know when you will be offered screening contact free phone 0800 707 6060.


Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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