The worrisome colonoscopy could be a thing of the past.

A new study by Croydon Health Service NHS Trust (CHS) into at-home bowel cancer tests is expected to almost halve the number of invasive procedures by 2020 by improving the accuracy of bowel cancer tests.

The study could also save the NHS millions as each colonoscopy costs the NHS £372 compared to about £5 for the new ‘faecal immunochemical test’ (FIT).

National cancer director at NHS England Cally Palmer said this could revolutionise diagnosis for patients with bowel cancer symptoms.

“This study, and others like it, is a key component of our transformation plans to improve survival by diagnosing cancer earlier and faster.

"We will be studying the results closely to see how we can best roll this test out nationally.”

The same CHS research team conducted a smaller study in 2016 where it estimated that accurate FIT tests would achieve at least a 40 per cent reduction in "unnecessary" colonoscopies.

Dr Muti Abulafi was a part of the study in 2016 and is once again on board for this new test.

"We strongly urge people to take part in this research study, which could benefit millions of future patients with bowel symptoms,” he said.