Friday, 22 March 2013

UK National Screening for Bowel Cancer with Flexiscope

Update 10 April 2013: 

I was referred by my GP to Bournemouth Nuffield [private] Hospital who say 'I am sorry but the self-fund initial appointment with Mr Howell is £180.00. If you have to have a flexible sigmoidoscopy no doubt he would be able to move you into the NHS to have it performed. If he performed a rigid sigmoidoscopy in outpatients at the same time as your initial appointment it would incur an extra £50 for Mr Howell and the Nuffield would send you an invoice for around £100.00 for the use of consumables etc.'

£330 for a rigid sigmoidoscopy! Ouch!! I think I'll wait till the NHS gets its free flexisig act together by 2016!


I blogged about Bowel Cancer Screening December 2010 and prompted by investigations on AAA, I understand Bowel Cancer Screening with a Flexiscope is available free on the NHS for those over 55 but is being rolled out to the whole country by 2016. The screening is called Bowel scope screening. See your GP for details. do a virtual colonoscopy for £650. NB. NOT the same test as flexible sigmoidoscopy. I can't find anybody in UK who does Flexiscope testing other than NHS trials, so booked appointment with my Doctor for further info.

"A large UK clinical trial looked into a new bowel screening test. The trial followed more than 170,000 people over 11 years to see who developed bowel cancer. More than 40,000 of those people between the ages of 55 to 64 had a test called flexible sigmoidoscopy. This test may also be called Flexi-Scope, flexi-sig or bowel scope. It involves having a thin, bendy tube put a short way into the rectum and lower bowel. The tube has a tiny camera and light on the end, allowing the doctor to look at the inside wall of the bowel and remove any small growths or polyps. 
The researchers found that the people who had screening with Flexi-Scope reduced their risk of bowel cancer by a third because any polyps were removed at an early stage. In England, the Flexi-Scope test is now being introduced into the NHS bowel screening programme. This is called bowel scope screening. This will be a one off test for all men and women aged 55. The FOB test will continue from age 60 as before. Bowel scope screening will be slowly rolled out across the country over the next few years" sourceCancer Research UK

Beating Bowel Cancer say:-

'Pilot programmes for bowel scope screening are scheduled to commence in Norwich, South of Tyne, St Mark’s London, Surrey, West Kent and Wolverhampton from March 2013. 

Beating Bowel Cancer have a factsheet (January 2013)

Flexible-sigmoidoscopy (flexi-sig) or bowel scope screening: The Department of Health in England has announced that it will fund a new, one-off, flexi-sig screening programme for men and women in England aged 55 years. This screening will be offered IN ADDITION to the FOBt (Faecal Occult Blood test) programme offered at 60 years. The decision was made 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%.

NHS Bowel Cancer Screening:-

For more information, you can read or download the excellent NHS leaflet on NHS bowel scope screening.
What about people in areas where the pilot isn't happening?It isn't possible to introduce a new type of screening test everywhere at the same time. If you don't live in one of the pilot areas, this means that bowel scope screening is not yet available to you. The plan is to make bowel scope screening available to all 55 year olds in England by 2016.

 2011/12 development year for Flexi-sig (pdf)
•2012/13 piloting of Flexi-sig
•2013/14 first wave roll out of Flexi-sig
= 30% country open by 31 March 2014
•2014/15 second wave roll out of Flexi-sig
= 60% country open by 31 March 2015
•2016 roll out complete
•“Opt-in” for those aged 55 -59 
Self referrals (Opt ins)•Registered with GP linked to SC offering FS Screening
•Age 56-59 inclusive 

No comments: