07 Jul 2022

New service for Carlow people to tackle 'second most common cause of cancer death'

New BowelScreen service launches at University Hospital Waterford

New BowelScreen service launches at University Hospital Waterford

University Hospital Waterford (UHW) is performing colonoscopies for BowelScreen – the National Bowel Screening Programme from this Tuesday. 

BowelScreen is a population-based national screening programme.

Serving Ireland’s South East, the unit at UHW is providing colonoscopy services for BowelScreen participants who have been found to have a ‘not normal’ result from their home FIT test.

BowelScreen is one of the National Screening Service’s three cancer-screening programmes. It aims to detect colorectal (bowel) cancer as early as possible, and to identify and remove adenomas or polyps (abnormal tissue growths). This greatly reduces the risk of future bowel cancer development.

Screening is a two-step process: a stool sample is collected by the person at home, and is sent to a laboratory where it is tested for a level of blood. This is called the FIT test (fecal immunochemical test) which, if not normal, results in a referral for a further bowel examination via a colonoscopy. For people in the South East, this BowelScreen colonoscopy is now taking place at UHW.

Welcoming the BowelScreen service, UHW general manager Grace Rothwell said: “This is great news for the South East, particularly those in the 60-69 year age group who are invited to participate in BowelScreen. UHW is one of eight national cancer centres in Ireland. We already provide histopathology and surgery services for BowelScreen. Partnership with BowelScreen and additional capacity will help us further deliver vital services closer to where people live in the South East," Ms Rothwell added. 

BowelScreen Programme manager Hilary Coffey Farrell said BowelScreen has the potential to reduce deaths from colorectal cancer by 36% after 10 years of screening, but only if there is growth in participation of men and women. "We are delighted that UHW is joining BowelScreen as a service provider serving the South East," she said. 

Professor Fiachra Cooke, consultant general, colorectal surgeon and BowelScreen clinical lead at UHW, said: “I am pleased to be taking on the responsibility as clinical lead for BowelScreen in UHW. We are delighted to provide endoscopy services to BowelScreen patients - yet another tool in our fight to improve the health and well-being of people in Waterford and the South East."

BowelScreen clinical director Professor Pádraic Mac Mathuna said bowel cancer (colorectal cancer) is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in Ireland, affecting almost 3,000 people every year.  "It is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. If detected at an early or pre-cancer stage, bowel cancer is easier to treat and there is a better chance of cure. The provision of BowelScreen endoscopy services at Waterford is a very welcome addition to cancer prevention in the region as we work to serve the people of the South East," he added. 

BowelScreen, which offers a home bowel screening tests for approximately 250,000 people each year in Ireland, reminds people aged 60-69 years to check that they are on the register by visiting

The programme is free and it is provided through a simple test kit that is mailed to the person’s home.

BowelScreen especially encourages men to engage with the programme, because traditionally the numbers of men screened have been lower than those for women.

For queries, patients can call the BowelScreen freephone information line on 1800 45 45 55 or email

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