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BowelScreen launches endoscopy service at Mayo University Hospital

BowelScreen, part of the National Screening Service, today announces that Mayo University Hospital (MUH) is now performing colonoscopies on behalf of the programme.

MUH, joins Saolta hospitals: University Hospital Galway, Letterkenny University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital, and Sligo University Hospital in providing BowelScreen services for the people of the west of Ireland. Fifteen hospitals across Ireland are now delivering this vital screening service for the national bowel screening programme.

The service launch comes as acute hospital and endoscopy services - regionally and nationwide – continue to navigate the significant impact COVID-19 restrictions and high infection rates have had on operations. It is anticipated that when fully operational, the Saolta University Health Care Group will deliver around 20% of BowelScreen’s colonoscopies per year. BowelScreen conducts around 4,700 colonoscopies per year.
BowelScreen is a population-based national screening programme. It offers free home bowel screening using a FIT test kit posted to the homes of men and women in the eligible population - aged 60 to 69 - every two years.

The service at MUH will provide colonoscopy services for BowelScreen participants in the Mayo region who have been referred for further investigation having received a ‘not normal’ result on their home FIT kit tests.

Around 2,800 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Ireland each year, of these, approximately 300 (approximately 11%) are diagnosed in people screened by BowelScreen. Bowel cancer is the second most common invasive cancer in men. For women it is the third most common invasive cancer, with a higher incidence than cervical and ovarian cancer.*

About 1,000 men and women die of bowel cancer each year in Ireland. The number of new cases is expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years, due mainly to an increasing and ageing population.**

Yet screening offers the chance for early detection – before cancer develops or when there are no symptoms – which means treatment is often more effective than if diagnosed later. Every year over 3,000 people have pre-cancerous growths (known as polyps) removed as a result of bowel screening. This can prevent cancer from actually developing in the first instance.

Catherine Donohoe, MUH General Manager, said: “This is great news for the people of Mayo, particularly the patients who meet the criteria for BowelScreen. Partnership with BowelScreen will help us deliver vital services closer to where people live in the west. I am very proud of the hospital team for progressing this positive service for our patients at a time where the hospital services are still under pressure.”

BowelScreen Programme Manager, Hilary Coffey Farrell, said: “We are delighted that MUH is joining BowelScreen, serving the Mayo region. I would like to thank our colleagues in MUH for their work with the programme to start this important service. BowelScreen has the potential to reduce deaths from bowel cancer for the people in Mayo, but this is dependent on people taking up the offer of their free home FIT kit screening test when offered. The more people who take part, the more effective the bowel screening programme becomes.”
Consultant Gastroenterologist and BowelScreen Clinical Lead at MUH, Dr Donal Tighe, said: “I am pleased to be taking on the role of Clinical lead for BowelScreen in MUH. We are delighted to provide endoscopy services to people referred by BowelScreen; this is yet another tool in our fight to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Mayo and surrounding counties.”

Clinical Director (Interim) of BowelScreen Professor Pádraic Mac Mathuna said: “Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in Ireland, affecting almost 3,000 people every year. 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 in Mayo is a very welcome addition to cancer prevention in the region.”

BowelScreen, which offers a free home bowel screening tests for approximately 250,000 people each year in Ireland, reminds everyone aged 60-69 years to check that they are on the register by visiting If you are on our register, you will be invited to take your first home screening test between your 60th and 62nd birthday. (Due to COVID-19 some people's invitations for screening have been delayed by approximately one year. You may be 63 when you get your first invitation).

Everyone aged 60-69 years is urged to check they are on the bowel screening register by visiting www.bowelscreen.ieor by calling the Freephone number 1800 45 45 55. Once registered you will be sent an invitation to take part in screening, it will be followed by a FIT test delivered to your home in the post.

For other queries, please call the BowelScreen Freephone information line on 1800 45 45 55 or email


The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
Mayo University Hospital (MUH)