Optional banner to alert visitors of an upcoming event. You can link the event here.

What's New

Life-saving NHS bowel screening to be offered to people with Lynch syndrome in England

Published: 20th February 2024

This ‘game-changing’ move by the NHS will support the prevention and early diagnosis of bowel cancer for thousands of people living with Lynch syndrome.

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme will offer bowel surveillance every two years to people living with Lynch syndrome. As part of this timely and high-quality bowel surveillance individuals will be seen by a specialist team and assessed for a colonoscopy, to check for signs of bowel cancer.

“Incorporating people with Lynch syndrome into the national colonoscopy screening programme is game-changing and will save many lives each year”, said Dr Kevin Monahan, Lead for the NHS England Lynch Syndrome Transformation Project. “It will deliver prevention and early diagnosis of bowel cancer through timely and high-quality colonoscopy. Now diagnosis of this hereditary condition in England will be linked to lifelong patient-focused care.”

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition that increases the risk of certain cancers, including bowel, ovarian and pancreatic. According to NHS England, out of 100 people with Lynch syndrome, screening prevents between 40 and 60 people from getting bowel cancer.

Approximately 10,000 people in England are on the Lynch syndrome register and are being invited to join Lynch surveillance as part of the NHS bowel cancer screening programme. Thousands of extra cancers will potentially be diagnosed and treated earlier, with many more unknowingly living with the disease.

Each year in England, it is thought that around 1,100 bowel cancers are caused by Lynch syndrome, with estimates predicting that the syndrome increases the lifetime risk of developing bowel cancer by up to 80%.

Steve Russell, National Director of Screening and Vaccinations for the NHS, said: “Our successful bowel cancer screening programme already helps identify thousands of cancers each year, and now thousands more people who have been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome will also be given regular colonoscopies to check for signs of cancer and to detect the disease earlier.

“Ensuring people who we know are at a greater risk of developing cancers get regular screening is key to diagnosing cancers at an earlier stage, and I’d encourage everyone invited to come forward and get their screening at a local centre near them.”

Tracy Smith, Trustee at Lynch Syndrome UK, said: “Introducing Lynch syndrome patients to the National Bowel Screening Programme ensures that high risk patients receive regular surveillance in a timely manner and potential cancers are more likely to be caught earlier, thus saving lives.”

You might also be interested in

Cancer Conversations

Short documentary-style videos, created to inspire and inform

Cancer Insights

Weekly cancer updates delivered straight to your inbox

Personal Stories

Experiences of people affected by cancer, including patients living with it and those supporting them

NEW: GPs Talk Cancer podcast. Listen to our first episode.