If your GP thinks you may have a bowel problem, they will refer you to hospital. You will get an appointment for an outpatient clinic where the specialist may decide you need one or more of the following tests:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonoscopy)
- Barium enema
Or you may have been advised to have one or more of these tests after taking part in the bowel cancer screening programme.
You can find out more about all of these tests and what to expect in our guide to flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.
The specialist may repeat some of the tests that you had at the GP surgery. They may also ask you the same questions about your general health, your symptoms and your family history.
You should get your test results in about two weeks. Your family and friends can be a great support during this stressful time. If you have any questions or are worried about anything, speak to your GP.
You may want to take someone with you to your hospital appointments to help you remember what has been said. You could also take along a list of questions that you want to ask and a pen to write down the answers. This can help you remember the information once you get home.
Questions to ask at your hospital appointment
You might like to take a list of questions to your hospital appointment, to help you understand your diagnosis. We have suggested some possible questions here:
- What happens next? Who do I need to see and when?
- Should I be referred for genetic testing?
- Will my treatment cause early menopause or affect my fertility?
- Can you refer me to a fertility clinic?
- What emotional support is available?
- Can you put me in touch with other people my age who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer?
- What support or information is there for my family or children?
- Who can I speak to about getting help with childcare during my treatment and recovery?
- Where can I get information and advice about work and money?
Our Right test, right time campaign highlights the issues and challenges facing colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy services.
Updated March 2016. Due for review March 2019