After returning the test, the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre will send you the results within 2 weeks.
Most people that take the test have a ‘negative’ result, which means:
- no blood was found in their bowel motion
- there’s no evidence of bowel cancer or polyps
If this is the case:
- you won’t need any further investigations or treatment
- they'll tell your GP
- you'll be invited to be screened again within 2 years
If the test finds blood in your bowel motion, this doesn’t mean you have cancer, but you’ll need more tests to find the cause.
If this is the case, they'll inform your GP and write to you to:
- tell you what happens next
- explain the next stage of tests
About 10 in 500 people that take the test will have blood found in their bowel motion.
A colonoscopy is an examination of the bowel using a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end. It’s the most effective way of looking for the cause of bleeding.
A colonoscopy takes about half an hour and only requires an outpatient appointment, so you shouldn’t need to stay in hospital for more than a few hours.
If you need this test, a health professional will explain any risks to you before your appointment.
After your colonoscopy, a health professional will tell you the results and explain any findings to you before you leave.
Of the 10 people that had blood found in their bowel motion, 5 will be clear of cancer and bowel polyps (non-cancerous growths). This is called a false-positive result.
Of the remaining 5 people:
- 4 will test positive for bowel polyps
- 1 will be diagnosed with bowel cancer
A false-positive result is when the test shows blood in the bowel motion (poo), but follow-up tests show no cancer or polyps.
About 1 in 100 people taking the test will have a false-positive result.
If some blood was found in your poo, but not enough to need investigating, they’ll ask you to take a second test. This is quite common and doesn’t always mean there’s a problem.
If you agree to take a second test, they'll send you a new test kit.