Test / Diagnostic Procedure: Bowel Cancer Screening

A common myth about bowel cancer is that it only affects the elderly. Regular early screening helps with primary prevention, and treatment from this common cancer. Pricing from: £2,090. Asymptomatic patients can self-refer; patients with symptoms can consult their GP and obtain a referral.

Bookings: bookings.digestivehealth@onewelbeck.com

Tel: 020 3653 2009

Why is bowel screening important?

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. It is a cancer of the large intestine and forms in the lining of the bowel, occurring in both men and women, although more common in men. Risk of bowel cancer increases with age, with steep increases in people aged over 50.

Most cases of bowel cancer begin as small clusters of cells called polyps (non-cancerous growths) which form in the lining of the bowel. During a screening test a gastroenterologist is searching for these polyps which can usually be removed, to lower the risk of bowel cancer developing.

Survival rates are close to 100%, if the disease is spotted in the early stages. But this rate drops significantly as the disease develops. So, regular screening tests can help to prevent bowel cancer and save lives.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

The main symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • Bleeding from your rectum and/or blood in your stool
  • A change in bowel habit that lasts for 3 weeks or more, especially looser/runny stool
  • Unexplained loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Unexplained extreme tiredness, or shortness of breath
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Lump in your stomach

It may seem surprising that tiredness and breathlessness are included in the list of symptoms, but these can be indicators of anaemia, which can present due to loss of blood from a bowel tumour.

None of the above symptoms mean that you definitely have bowel cancer, but you should always refer to a specialist to get peace of mind, which is exactly what a colonoscopy offers.

Gold standard in bowel screening

A variety of screening options are currently available to help prevent or identify bowel cancer in its earliest stages. Methods like flexible sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, double contrast barium enema, and faecal occult blood tests can detect the presence of cancer cells, but a positive result means that further tests and procedures will be needed. So, these approaches are valuable but often inconclusive.

A colonoscopy is considered the gold standard in bowel cancer screening. Research has shown the superiority of a colonoscopy over other screening tests, with one bowel cancer incidence prevented for every 28 colonoscopies performed.

A thorough colonoscopy offers:

  • Prevention: Your doctor can give you an “all-clear” on the day if no polyps or adenomas are found during the colonoscopy.
  • Treatment: Your doctor can usually remove small polyps during the colonoscopy so they will not develop into cancer.
  • Diagnosis: If your doctor finds any suspicious growths, they will take a biopsy sample and send this immediately to the lab for further testing.

Regular colonoscopies should begin at age 45 for people with an average rate of developing bowel cancer. If you have a family history of polyps or bowel cancer, then you may be advised to get your first colonoscopy at age 40 or earlier.

The frequency of screening tests will depend on the individual’s medical history and risk factors. And, once begun the screening test should be repeated from one to every ten years.

At OneWelbeck Digestive Health, our highly experienced bowel cancer specialists perform a range of procedures within comfortable settings. They can advise you on which screening methods are right for you.

Are there less invasive options?

While a colonoscopy is the gold standard for preventative screening, we understand that some people might be hesitant about booking this procedure. The good news is that FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) is also an option, and one that you can do at home. If there is blood in your stool, this can indicate the presence of abnormalities in the bowel, so by providing a stool sample specialists can identify possible signs of bowel disease. If a positive FIT result is obtained, then you will be referred for further investigation by colonoscopy.

FIT can be used in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients – to order an at-home FIT kit for £60 please call 020 3653 2009, or email clinical.digestivehealth@onewelbeck.com.

Test/diagnostic pricing

Colonoscopy price from £2,090



Self-Pay Available

This treatment is available for self-paying users. If you would like to see more information on pricing visit our pricing and payments page.


Self Referral

No doctor referral needed in order to book this service, although health insurers may require a referral in order for your treatment to be covered.


Fixed Price Package

For peace of mind, this service or treatment is available for an all-inclusive fixed price package.


Payment Plan

Set up a monthly payment plan to spread the cost of your treatment. Find out more about our payment plans.

Bowel Cancer Screening Specialists

We have brought together a group of leading colorectal and general surgeons and gastroenterologists to create our Digestive Health team. With over 300 years of combined experience, these expert clinicians are the best in their field and are all focused on delivering the very best patient care.