SERVICE DESIGN: South Tyneside District Hospital has become the first in the country to offer a new screening test to prevent bowel cancer.

People in South Tyneside aged 55  are being invited to attend a ‘Bowelscope‘ screening. They are being offered a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which involves using a small tube to look at the inside of the lower bowel.

The aim is to find any small growths, called ‘polyps’, some of which may develop into bowel cancer if left untreated. Removing these polyps reduces the likelihood of people getting bowel cancer.

The one-off Bowelscope screening is an addition to the existing NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, which began in 2006m and which offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 74 by testing stool samples for tiny traces of blood.