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The bowel screening programme and who it's for

Who th​e Jersey bowel cancer screening programme is for

Bowel cancer screening is offered to men and women in Jersey during their 60th year.

You'll get your invitation letter around the time you turn  60 years old.

We offer it to people who are 60 as e​vidence shows this is the best age to prevent bowel cancer with this screening test. The test is free.

​About the screening

In Jersey, we use the flexi-sig test which examines​ your bowel for polyps (small growths that can develop into cancer).

The test gives a clear result immediately and you only need to do the test once​. This is different to the UK. They use the 'poo' test (FOB test), which takes several days to complete and needs to be repeated every two years.

Bowel screening video in English

 


Bowel screening video in Portuguese

 


Before your appointment

You'll need to make sure you:

  • speak with the bowel screening nurse specialist. They’ll ask about your general health, arrange your appointment date and explain how to prepare for the test
  • collect your free enema from a designated pharmacy so you can use it just before your test. The enema empties your bowel, so the doctor can see your bowel lining more clearly

On the day of your appointment

You'll need to use your enema preparation before leaving home to come to the hospital for your test.

At your appointment, you'll:

  • meet the bowel screening​ nurse specialist who will ask you to change into a gown and complete a consent form
  • be taken into an examination room and asked to lie on your left side. The specialist will gently insert a flexi-scope (a thin flexible viewing tube with a light on the end) into your bottom. The flexi-scope examines your bowel to look for polyps​
  • be told the results of your test straight away​

You may feel a bit bloated and uncomfortable but you can ask for ‘gas and air’ to help with the discomfort. If you become too uncomfortable, the scope can be removed straight away.

You can expect to be at the hospital for about an hour. The actual test only takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete. ​​

What the screening test might find​

​The test is looking for polyps. Polyps​ are growths or lumps in the bowel that are harmless at first, but can sometimes develop into cancer if they're not detected and ​removed.​

No polyps

​​Most people will have a normal test result where no polyps are found.

​Small polyps

If small polyps are found, they'll be removed quickly and painlessly during the test so you won't need to come back. Removing them provides long term protection against developing bowel cancer.

Large or several polyps

A few people (around one in 20) have larger or several polyps. If this happens, we'll arrange for you to come back for another test called a colonoscopy. This test allows us to remove these​ polyps and look further within your bowel to make sure you have no more.

​Risks and side-effects

The flexi-sig test has been routinely used worldwide.

A small amount of bleeding can occur if you have a polyp removed. The risk of any damage (such as a tear in the bowel) is tiny (one in every 50,000 people screened).

N​o screening test is perfect. A​ normal result d​oesn't mean that you definitely don't have, or will never develop bowel cancer.

If you have concerns about unusual bowel symptoms, you should visit your GP​.

​Symptoms of bowel cancer and reducing your risk​
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