A colonoscopy is an investigation that involves looking directly at the lining of the large bowel. A sedative is given and then a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached (a colonoscope) is passed into the back passage and guided around the bowel. If polyps are found, most can be removed painlessly, using a wire loop passed down the colonoscope tube. These tissue samples are then checked for any abnormal cells that might be cancerous.
- About five in 10 people who have a colonoscopy will have a normal result.
- About four in 10 will be found to have a polyp, which if removed may prevent cancer developing.
- About one in 10 people will be found to have cancer when they have a colonoscopy.
- 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