A colonoscopy is the most effective way to diagnose bowel cancer and for most people it is a straightforward procedure. However, as with most medical procedures, there is the possibility of complications. These can include heavy bleeding (about a one in 150 chance) which will need further investigation or medical advice. There is approximately a one in 1,500 chance that the colonoscope could cause a hole (perforation) in the wall of the bowel. In extremely rare cases , colonoscopy may result in death. Current evidence suggests that this may only happen in around one in 10,000 cases.
- NHS BCSP home page
- Programme publications
About bowel screening
- Why screen for bowel cancer?
- What is the purpose of bowel cancer screening?
- How is the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme organised?
- Who is eligible for bowel cancer screening?
- Age extension to bowel cancer screening
- How are GPs involved in bowel cancer screening?
- How much does bowel screening cost?
- How does the screening process work?
- What does my bowel cancer screening result mean?
- How does the FOB test work?
- What is a colonoscopy?
- What are the risks of colonoscopy?
More information about the
- Who does what in the NHS BCSP?
- List of hubs and screening centres
- NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Evaluation Group
- Bowel cancer
- GP Pack (Information for primary care)
- NHS bowel cancer training centres in England
- The English Bowel Screening Pilot
- Evaluation of English Bowel Screening Pilot
- Evaluation of the second round of the English Bowel Screening Pilot
- Use of patient information
- Frequently asked questions
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Programme news index
- Research in bowel cancer screening
- Useful links