Bowel scope screening

In 2013, the Department of Health in England launched a new, one-off, flexible sigmoidoscopy or bowel scope screening programme for men and women in England aged 55 years.

This is an additional investigation within the current national bowel screening programmes. We have more information of the bowel scope procedure.


As a flexible sigmoidoscopy can only examine the lower part of the large bowel, and rectum, it will be done alongside the current FOBt, which detects bleeding from any part of the large bowel.


The new screening programme was introduced following the results of a long term study, funded by CRUK. The research found that a single flexi-sig test, in those aged 55 to 64 years, reduced the risk of individuals dying from bowel cancer by 43% and the risk of individuals developing bowel cancer by 33%.


Full roll out of the bowel scope programme across England has not yet been achieved.


A pilot scheme began in 2014 in some regions of Scotland, where people aged around 60 were invited to take part, but this has now closed.