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About bowel screening

Bowel cancer screening aims to detect cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to work. It can also help to prevent bowel cancer from developing in the first place. 

What is screening?

Screening means testing for early stages of an illness before there are any symptoms.

Who has bowel screening?

People aged between 60 and 74 are sent a bowel cancer testing kit every 2 years in the post. You need to be registered with a GP to receive your screening invitations.

You can request a screening kit by contacting the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.

You should call this number if:

  • you're between 60 and 74 and have never taken part in home testing bowel screening
  • you haven’t taken part in bowel screening in the last 2 years
  • you've lost or misplaced your kit
  • you're over 74 but still wish to take part (opt-in)
  • you have any questions or queries

What does it involve?

Blood in your poo can be a sign of bowel cancer. You can test for tiny traces of blood that you might not be able to see. You do the test in your own home with a testing kit. 

The kit is a simple way for you to collect small samples of your poo. You wipe the sample on a special card, which you then send for testing in a hygienically sealed, prepaid envelope. There are detailed instructions with the kit. 

You may think that the tests sound a bit embarrassing, or unpleasant, but collecting the samples doesn't take long. 

Check out this video from Cancer Research UK to find out more: