Screening for bowel cancer
There are different levels of screening, with some procedures more invasive than others.
The first screening involves stool sample collection, a procedure that is inconvenient, but non-invasive and has little to no risks to the patient. A faecal occult blood test is commonly used to examine the stool (occult meaning ‘unseen’ in this case). It tests for the presence of microscopic or invisible blood in the stool.
The second level of screening is much more invasive. It involves a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy uses a thin flexible tube, about 150 cm long, to examine the inner lining of the large intestines. The scope is guided into the intestines through the anus.