The NHS is introducing flexible sigmoidoscopy (flexi-sig) screening for all men and women when they reach the age of 55.This follows a multicentre randomised controlled trial1 which found that flexible sigmoidoscopy was a safe and practical test which, when offered only once to the appropriate age group conferred a substantial and lasting benefit.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a one-off test, which aims to detect bowel polyps and cancers early before any symptoms develop.
This screening test is an addition to the existing NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, and will be offered to people aged 55. People aged over 55 will be able to request flexi-sig screening up to their 60th birthday. At 60, people will be offered the faecal occult blood test (FOBt) as now, whether or not they have had flexi-sig screening.
What is flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy (flexi-sig) is a way of looking at the inside of the bowel. It uses an instrument called an endoscope. This is a thin flexible tube that is put into the rectum (back passage), and guided around the lower part of the bowel. The lower part of the bowel is where most bowel cancers develop.
When will flexible sigmoidoscopy screening be rolled out across the country?
The details of the introduction of flexi-sig screening are still being worked out. When further information is available it will be posted on this website.
- 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