Bowel Cancer Screening involves completing a simple home test.

Why is it offered?

Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime.

Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it’s easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which if left can turn into cancer over time.

The screening test

You will be initially sent an invitation letter, along with an information leaflet explaining screening and the possible benefits and risks.  About a week later you will receive your FIT kit with instructions on how to use it. You will receive your results around two weeks after returning your completed kit.

Should you receive an abnormal result you will be invited to an appointment with a Specialist Screening Practitioner to discuss having a screening colonoscopy. An abnormal result does not mean you have cancer. Around 2 in 100 people receive an abnormal result.

When it is offered

  • If you’re 60 to 74 and registered with a GP, you’ll automatically be invited to do a home testing kit every two years
  • If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a home testing kit every two years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60
  • If you’re too young for screening but are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP for advice
  • Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bower cancer at any age – don’t wait to have a screening test