Bowel Cancer Screening Centre

The Pennine Screening Centre provides bowel cancer screening services for a population of 900,000.

NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care locations covered by the centre include Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale, Oldham, Bury and Manchester (North).

NHS bowel cancer screening checks if you could have bowel cancer. It's available to everyone aged 54 or over.

Screening participants use a home test kit, called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT), to collect a small sample of poo and send it to a lab/hub. This is checked for tiny amounts of blood.

Blood can be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. Polyps are growths in the bowel. They are not cancer, but may turn into cancer over time.

If the test finds anything unusual, the screening participant might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.

Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bowel cancer at any age, even if you have recently completed a NHS bowel cancer screening test kit – do not wait to have a screening test.

Cancer Screening Improvement Lead  - support for GP Practices and other external agencies to engage patients to access the service, increase uptake and address health inequalities

Please contact Caroline Mattinson

  • Specialist Screening Practitioner Pre Investigation Appointments
  • Endoscopy
  • Radiology (if required)
  • Referrals to supporting services (if required)
  • Specialist Screening Practitioner Post Investigation Appointments

You will be sent an invitation letter with information about bowel cancer screening. The information is to help you decide whether to take part.

You will then be sent a faecal immunochemical test, or ‘FIT kit’ for short. It detects blood in your poo (blood you would not notice by eye). We look for blood because polyps and bowel cancers sometimes bleed. Finding blood does not diagnose bowel cancer but it means you need further tests (usually a bowel examination).

Most people’s screening result shows they do not need any further tests.

Some people will however need further tests. If this is the case we will offer you a Specialist Screening Practitioner Pre Investigation Appointment either at a local community location or via a telephone consultation.

This is to discuss having a more detailed examination of your bowel (colonoscopy). The colonoscopy is to see if there is a problem that needs treatment.

A Specialist Screening Practitioner (SSP) will talk with you about your screening result and answer any questions you have. He or she will discuss colonoscopy with you, and check if you are fit enough for the procedure.

If you are fit for colonoscopy and want to go ahead with the examination, we will arrange an appointment for you. If we do not think you are fit enough for colonoscopy, we may offer you a different investigation such as a computerised tomography (CT) scan (sometimes called a ‘virtual colonoscopy’).

Colonoscopy looks at the lining of your large bowel. A colonoscopy specialist passes a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera attached (a colonoscope) into your back passage (rectum). They guide the colonoscope around your large bowel. If they find any polyps, they can usually remove them painlessly. They will check any removed polyps for cancer cells. Colonoscopy is the best way to diagnose bowel cancer. 

The Screening Centre currently offers Colonoscopy procedures from the following Endoscopy Unit sites:

  • Royal Oldham Hospital
  • Fairfield General Hospital
  • Rochdale Infirmary

Bowel Cancer Screening Centre Offices based at Fairfield General Hospital.

Endoscopic procedures provided at:

  • Fairfield General Hospital
  • Rochdale Infirmary
  • Royal Oldham Hospital

Specialist Screening Practitioner Pre Investigation Assessment Clinics are provided by telephone call however a face to face appointment can be arranged at Fairfield Hospital for patients who require reasonable adjustments.

We offer bowel cancer screening using a home testing kit to everyone in England from the age of 54. Your GP practice gives us your contact details so please make sure they always have your correct name, date of birth and address. Many GPs also like to have your mobile number and email address.

We offer screening every 2 years between the ages of  54 and 74. We are gradually extending this age range to 50 by 2024, If you are over 74, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by calling our free helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

More information and advice:

Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if:

  • you have not had your result after 2 weeks from when you sent off your kit
  • you want to know more about screening
  • you do not want to be invited for bowel cancer screening

The Bowel Cancer Screening Programme has information in other formats, including:

GOV.UK: bowel cancer screening guide in English and other languages

GOV.UK: bowel cancer screening easy read guide

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