Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and the second most common cause of cancer death. Screening helps to detect bowel cancer, or early signs of it, at an early stage and can prevent unnecessary deaths.

All men and women aged 56, 58 and those between 60-74 years who are registered with a GP will be automatically sent a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit every two years. We are currently in the process of reducing the starting age down to 50, which we are set to achieve by April 2024.

Although 98% of people who do this test will have a normal result, around 2% of people will have an abnormal/positive result. Those with a positive/abnormal result in the North Central London area will receive an appointment to see a specialist bowel screening nurse at UCLH to discuss and arrange a colonoscopy (a test to examine the inside the bowels).

Men and women aged 75 and over will not be automatically sent a kit but can request one from the London Hub using the free helpline number 0800 707 6060.

UCLH is the screening centre for the North Central London area, which covers Camden, Islington, Haringey, Enfield and Barnet. The centre works in partnership with the London Programme Hub located at St Mark’s Hospital, which plays a major role in coordinating the programme London-wide.

UCLH also works closely with local public health teams, hospitals across the sector, and the North Central London Cancer Alliance, to further develop the service and to raise awareness of bowel cancer and the screening programme amongst the general public and health and social care professionals locally.

The centre plays an important role in:

  • organising and facilitating nurse clinics for people with abnormal test results
  • carrying out further tests and investigations where people have had an abnormal test result
  • supporting patients during procedures/investigations
  • scheduling and facilitating follow-up clinics to provide patients with histopathology results where relevant
  • organising and facilitating multidisciplinary team meetings to discuss patient care and treatment options where appropriate
  • reporting to patients’ GPs on progress and outcomes where appropriate.

For more information about bowel cancer and the screening programme, please visit the NHS bowel screening website or contact a member of the UCLH team.

Queries about your kit? Call this freephone advice and information line: 0800 707 60 60.

If you live in Camden, Islington, Barnet, Enfield or Haringey and have an abnormal faecal immunochemical test (FIT), you will be offered an appointment at UCLH to see one of the specialist screening practitioners (SSP). This appointment will be offered within two weeks of the test result.

At this appointment the SSP will explain why the test may be abnormal and why a further procedure is required. The SSP will then assess your fitness for colonoscopy, explain the colonoscopy procedure and make an appointment for the colonoscopy to be done by one of the screening colonoscopists.

The SSP is responsible for your care throughout the investigation process. Once the results of the colonoscopy and any histology are available, you will either be referred back to the bowel screening programme, with a further kit to be sent in two years’ time, or referred onwards for appropriate medical care.

The screening nurses can be contacted on 020 3447 3201.