What is bowel cancer screening? (FOBT or colonoscopy)

FOBT Bowel cancer screening is a straightforward, painless procedure carried out in the privacy of your own home. Over a few days, you simply collect two tiny stool (faeces) samples using a special collection kit. You can buy this test kit over the counter from your local pharmacist. Your samples are then posted to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program laboratory for analysis. Alternatively, colonoscopy can be used as a bowel screening tool.

Why do I need bowel cancer screening?

One in 12 Australians will develop bowel cancer by the age of 85. Therefore, the life-saving success of screening for bowel cancer is significant.

FOBT screening is recommended every one to two years for people aged 50 or over. If your test is negative, it’s important that your re-test every one to two years to keep checking your status. If your test is positive, your doctor will schedule a colonoscopy to rule out the presence of bowel cancer or other causes of blood in your stool. If you choose to be screened by colonoscopy then it is recommended every five years from the age of 50.

The good news is that, if caught in time, 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully. Plus, changes to your diet and physical activity can reduce the incidence of bowel cancer by up to 75%.

How do I prepare for bowel cancer screening?



Why do I need a capsule endoscopy?

To find the cause of your stomach or abdominal problem, your doctor may use an innovative procedure called ‘capsule endoscopy’. This technology allows stomach examinations to be performed easily and comfortably. For the most part, capsule endoscopy is used to examine concerns with the small intestine, which are not well visualised by colonoscopy or gastroscopy. To be eligible for this medicare funded procedure you must have completed gastroscopy and colonoscopy and have low haemoglobin.

What is a capsule endoscopy?

The patient simply swallows a tiny capsule containing a miniscule camera, light bulb, battery and radio transmitter. This capsule records hundreds of photographs of the inside of the digestive tract as it passes through. The capsule sends the images to a small receiver worn around the waist.

After about 8 hours, the collected images are downloaded to the doctor’s computer and the disposable capsule is simply passed into the toilet and flushed away. The images help pinpoint areas of concern, such as unexplained bleeding, polyps, ulcers, tumours, signs of Crohn’s disease, so that the best treatment option is chosen.

Because the digestive tract needs to be free of any solid material to get the best photographs, patients follow a similar procedure to a colonoscopy.

Preparing for a capsule colonoscopy

What is a colonoscopy?

A specialist doctor performs a colonoscopy using a thin flexible tube with a camera and light on the end, called a colonoscope, to examine your entire large bowel (colon), including your large intestine and rectum. Under sedation, the colonoscope is passed through your back passage and gently moved around so that your doctor can see the full length of your large bowel.

There’s no pain or discomfort during or after a colonoscopy. And because you’re not fully anaesthetised, it’s a day procedure with a short recovery period.


Why do I need a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a relatively low-risk procedure that helps doctors diagnose serious illnesses such as bowel cancer, as well as inflamed tissues and ulcers.

Almost all cases of colon cancer start with small growths called polyps on the lining of your colon. These start as benign (non-cancerous) growths, but if they are not removed, they can become cancerous. If a polyp is found during your colonoscopy it will be removed as a preventative measure, in most cases. Polyps take 10-15 years on average to develop into cancer, hence why a routine colonoscopy is recommended every 5-10 years for people at average risk of bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer occurs most commonly in people in their 30s and 40s or older. Sometimes it occurs in people in their 20s. It’s very rare in teenagers. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell who will develop bowel cancer, therefore people who have a strong family history of bowel cancer are recommended to have regular check-ups. Bowel cancer affects one person in 20 at some stage during their life.

How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

Why do I need an Fe Infusion?

Fe (IRON) infusions are used when a patient has had blood tests performed that prove iron deficiency and/or anaemia. Sometimes this is attributed to blood loss or other reasons. Ferrinject is a type of Fe infusion that can be given over 15-20 minutes in our consulting rooms, saving time for the patient.

What is gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is a branch of internal medicine focused on disorders and diseases of the human digestive system, mostly involving the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Doctors who specialise in this field are called ‘gastroenterologists’. They diagnose and treat patients with digestive conditions and diseases.

In adult males the GI tract is 5 metres long and includes the oesophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine and large intestine (colon).

Common conditions that gastroenterologists treat include bowel cancer, malabsorption diseases, constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ulcers, liver disease, hepatitis, gastritis, diverticulosis and gastroenteritis.

Gastroenterologists perform specialised diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as liver biopsies and endoscopic examinations of the oesophagus, stomach, small and large bowel, such as gastroscopies and colonoscopies. Gastroenterologists do not perform abdominal surgery, however they work closely with surgeons to determine the best surgical operation for a patient. Gastroenterologists provide post-surgery care to help their patients recover from or cope with their digestive disorder.

What is a gastroscopy?

A specialist doctor performs a gastroscopy (upper endoscopy), using a thin flexible tube-like instrument with a camera and light on the end (a gastroscope) to carefully examine the lining of your oesophagus, stomach and small bowel. The camera collects images that are viewed by your specialist on a screen monitor during the procedure.

Diagnostic gastroscopy is a very safe and routine procedure. Under sedation, the gastroscope is gently passed through your mouth, down your throat and into your stomach. Because you’re sedated and not fully anaesthetised, a gastroscopy is a day procedure and has a quick recovery period.

Why do I need a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy will help your doctor diagnose the cause of your abdominal pain, vomiting or any bleeding from your digestive tract. A gastroscopy can detect ulcers, small lesions, reflux and infections caused by bacteria and parasites. It also screens for stomach cancer.

This procedure allows the doctor to take tissue samples for pathology testing, and remove benign polyps that may be found during the gastroscopy, in most cases. Although stomach polyps are rarely pre-cancerous, they can lead to other digestive problems and are, therefore, removed for that reason.

Preparing for a Gastroscopy requires fasting only.

For more information, click here


What is Helicobacter pylori Breath Testing?

Helicopter pylori (H. pylori) is a spiral-shaped bacterium that infects more than 30% of our global population. H. pylori Breath Testing is a diagnostic tool that detects whether or not you have a current H. pylori infection.

H. pylori invades the mucosal stomach lining and can cause inflammation of the stomach (gastritis), which may lead to duodenal and gastric ulcers. Research shows that H. pylori infection contributes to the development of gastric cancer and lymphoma.

H. pylori C14 Urea Breath Testing monitors the activity of urease, an enzyme produced by the bacterium. Urease is critical for H. pylori to survive in the strong acid environment of the stomach. Urease converts urea to ammonia and carbon dioxide, reducing the acid level of the stomach fluid. If you’re infected with H. pylori the test will detect carbon dioxide from this chemical reaction in your breath. More Info.

Patient testing for H. pylori is performed in the comfort of Moonee Valley Specialist Centre. It’s simple, accurate and non-invasive. Plus your test results are available straight away.

Why do I need H. pylori Breath Testing?

If you’re experiencing burning pain in your upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, burping, indigestion or loss of appetite, testing for H. pylori infection may be conducted by Moonee Valley Specialist Centre.

H. pylori can infect your stomach lining and lead to serious disease. Sadly, gastric adenocarcinoma is the second highest cancer causing death in the world.

Compared to gastroscopy for biopsy samples, blood screening or stool testing – testing your breath for urea, using this quick and accurate procedure in the Moonee Valley Specialist Centre clinic, is both convenient and informative.

If you are infected with H. pylori Moonee Valley Specialist Centre will prescribe first-line antibiotic and acid suppressing therapy to eradicate H. pylori and prevent ulcers from recurring. Some patients have a persistent infection, as indicated by urea breath testing, and require second line and additional therapies to successfully eradicate the infection.

For more information about H. pylori Breath Testing and treatment, click here or contact us with your questions.

Pre-Test Preparation:These instructions must be followed. Hydrogen breath testing is safe for children and pregnant women. Please advise, when booking, if patients under 35kg body weight.


  • NO oral and intravenous antibiotics can be taken, however topical treatments are OK.
  • NO colonoscopy or enema procedures.


  • Restrict dairy products, however lactose-free, soy, rice, nut milk products are OK.
  • Restrict canned and dried fruits, fruit juices, soft drinks and honey.
  • Restrict high-fibre foods, particularly oats, beans and corn.
  • NO fibre supplements or laxatives.
  • We recommend a rice-based meal with meat or vegetables as your evening meal before your test. Other foods and medications can be taken as usual.


FAST FROM 9PM the night before your test:

You must take the test on an empty stomach, so you must not consume any food or drinks for at least 12 hours before your test. You may drink plain water only.

On the morning of the test:

Do NOT smoke. Keep fasting and do not do any exercise 1 hour prior to your test. Please refrain from bringing visitors to the clinic. Seating is restricted to patients only, with the exception of parents and carers.


Vitamin Infusions

Iron infusions have been happening at Moonee Valley Specialist Centre for a long time. But the more we are asked about Vitamin Infusions the more we have wanted to offer this service. So we are getting on board and offering this service.

No-one wants to take every day. And why would you? No one wants to feel tired or run down! But sometimes it can be more than iron deficiency. So the MYERS COCKTAIL offers a range of vitamins in the one infusion. We will update the website with more details soon!


What Is LiverScan?

An hepatic ultrasound (Liver Ultrasound) to determine Fibrosis (Liver stiffness/Scarring) and steatosis (fatty change). LiverScan measures the velocity of a shearwave (vibration wave) generated on the skin by the ultrasound probe. Shear Wave Velocity measures the time the wave takes to penetrate the liver.

The longer the penetration time, the higher the fibrosis score- more stiffness/scarring of the liver. The LiverScan also measures steatosis (Liver Fat Content). Fibrosis is measured in kPa (Kilopascals) whilst steatosis is measured in CAP (Controlled Attenuation Parameter).


What is medical consulting?

At Moonee Valley Specialist Centre medical consulting is a one-on-one discussion and preliminary medical examination with our gastroenterologist, Dr. Nathan Connelly. All medical consultations must be arranged via a referral from your general practitioner (GP) or other medical specialist.Dr. Connelly’s main areas of specialty include gastroscopy, colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, hemorrhoid banding, capsule endoscopy and polypectomy.

He also treats conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease and liver disease. Our team of highly qualified associates will be called on for additional expert diagnoses and treatment, when necessary.Why do I need medical consulting?A medical consultation with Dr. Connelly will allow him to ask you questions and conduct a physical examination to work out what is causing your gastrointestinal or related condition.


What is open access endoscopy?

Moonee Valley Specialist Centre offers an open access endoscopy service for GPs and their patients. In short, this service provides an efficient way for GPs to schedule an endoscopy procedure for their patients with Dr. Nathan Connelly. These include colonoscopy, gastroscopy and capsule endoscopy.

In short, by following a strict screening process that ensures safe medical practices are adhered to, the referred patient bypasses the need for an initial consultation with Dr. Connelly and the endoscopy procedure can be done without delay.

Why do I need open access endoscopy?

Sometimes there are lengthy waiting times for specialist medical consultations and procedures. Having your GP conduct your initial diagnosis and screening for your required endoscopy procedure allows the necessary scope to be performed easily. Dr Connelly can work straight from the comprehensive information your GP provides to conduct your endoscopy procedure in a timely manner.

Our open access endoscopy service is not available for all patients or all types of conditions. Please contact us for more information.


What is teleconferencing?

Teleconferencing is the use of video conferencing technologies and broadband connections to conduct a real-time medical consultation between multiple parties in different locations. For now, Moonee Valley Specialist Centre offers simultaneous video and audio transmissions, like a face-to-face consultation, but over distance.

Teleconferencing uses the software program, Skype, in conjunction with the practitioner and the patient sitting together in their clinic. Dr Connelly assesses the patient with the support of the practitioner. Together they develop a treatment plan of action.In the future, it will be possible for medical images to be transferred in real-time to GPs or other consultant specialists to speed up our patients’ diagnoses and treatments, and, more generally, to provide a higher level of health care.


Why do I need teleconferencing?

If you live in a remote or rural location, particularly where access to gastroenterology services is limited, teleconferencing will save you travel time and expenses, as well as hasten your diagnosis and treatment options.

Teleconferencing provides direct access to Dr Nathan Connelly’s expertise, both for patients and practitioners, located in Medicare-designated ‘rural’ suburbs and/or who find it difficult to travel long distances.

Teleconferencing is a program initiated by Medicare and is a bulk-billing consultation through our centre. To see if you are in an eligible area for tele health, visit the DoctorConnect page here.

Liver Scan

A painless procedure to test liver health.

1003 Mt Alexander Road Essendon, VIC, 3040

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03 9372 0372

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