A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that participants who have a positive FOBT result may be referred for. It is a test to inspect the inside of the large bowel for any abnormalities such as polyps. Participants with a positive FOBT result will be sent a colonoscopy brochure containing more information about the procedure with their test result.
If your FOBT result is positive, your doctor will most likely recommend that you have a colonoscopy to find the cause of the bleeding. Participants may opt to have a colonoscopy in a public or private facility or hospital.
You should also discuss whether you want to have your colonoscopy in a public or private facility with your doctor. The costs will vary depending on whether you have the colonoscopy as a public or private patient and if you have private health insurance.
If you choose to be referred to Queensland Health as a public patient, your colonoscopy or other test will be free of charge. Your GP can refer you to one of the Program’s selected Queensland Health facilities, which in most cases allow timely access to colonoscopy lists reserved for National Bowel Cancer Screening Program participants.
Once your referral is received by the Queensland Bowel Cancer Screening Program (QBCSP), you will be contacted by one of the QBCSP’s Gastroenterology Nurse (GE) Coordinators who will arrange an appointment date and time, and coordinate your care.
For further information about your nearest Queensland Health facility with reserved lists please contact your local GE Nurse Coordinator QBCSP on 1300 766 927 (cost of a local call).
If you choose to be referred to a private hospital or facility, the cost will depend on your level of private health cover, and any additional fees charged. If you choose to go privately, your GP will make the necessary referral and your care will be managed by the nominated medical specialist.
If bowel cancer is found, it will usually require surgery. If the cancer is found at an early stage, the chance of a full recovery is high. Most people will be able to return to their current lifestyle. This should be discussed with a general practitioner or specialist.
A clear colonoscopy means that no polyps or cancerous growths were detected at the time of the colonoscopy. This means that there is a low risk of developing bowel cancer within the next ten years. Medical experts advise that another FOBT should be completed in five years time. However, no test is 100% accurate, so if in the meantime you experience any symptoms such as rectal bleeding, blood in bowel motions, changes in bowel habits, unexplained tiredness or abdominal pain etc, a doctor should be consulted straight away.
Yes, there are other procedures available. Other options that may be suitable for you should be discussed with your doctor or with a specialist in bowel diseases.