Bowel Cancer Screening  

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Bowel Cancer Screening Free Helpline – 0800 707 60 60 

Who should complete a bowel cancer screening? 


All men and women aged 60 to 74 years.  Screening is every 2 years. 


Everyone aged between 60 and 74, who is registered with a GP will be invited to complete an NHS bowel cancer screening test every 2 years.  The test is completed at home and returned by post. 

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How do I know when to complete my bowel cancer screening? 


You'll automatically get your first invite for bowel cancer screening around your 60th birthday. You'll be invited every 2 years until you turn 74. 


Following the initial invite letter, you will receive a test kit in the post.  The test kit comes in a small white box displaying the NHS logo.   


It’s important that you complete the test as soon as it's possible for you to do so. 


You need to be registered with a GP practice to receive the bowel cancer screening test kit. 


Find out how to register with a GP 

Are you concerned that you’ve missed your bowel cancer screening? 


If you’ve misplaced your bowel screening test kit or think that you should have received it, please contact the bowel screening helpline. 


Bowel Cancer Screening Helpline – Call Free: 0800 707 60 60 

Why is bowel cancer screening important? 


Bowel cancer screening is important as it is one of the best ways to spot bowel cancer before you notice any signs or symptoms. 


Bowel screening saves around 2,400* lives each year in the UK. 


The test checks for tiny amounts of blood in your poo, which can be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. 


Polyps are growths in the bowel, they are not cancer, but they may turn into cancer overtime. 


Finding bowel cancer early can make it: 


  • more likely that treatment will be successful 

  • more likely you'll be cured 


Screening does not stop you getting bowel cancer, but it is the best way to spot cancers at an early stage. 

*source - PHE Screening inequalities strategy - GOV.UK (

How to do a bowel cancer screening test 


Bowel cancer screening is completed using a test kit called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT test). 


The FIT test is completed at home.   


You only need to collect one small sample of poo.   


The easiest way to collect the sample is to use an old plastic container, line it with toilet paper and put it in the toilet. 


Poo into the container. 


Once you have collected your poo: 

  • scrap the stick from the testing kit in the poo 

  • make sure the end is covered with poo 

  • put the stick back in the tube and twist it shut so that it clicks 

  • write the date on the side of the tube 

  • put the tube into the sample bag 


The FIT test comes with full instructions on how to use it and a pre-paid envelope to return it. 

Bowel Screening Age Extension  


The NHS plan to lower the age for bowel cancer screening, in some areas people from the age of 56 years may start to be invited to take part.  They will be contacted automatically. 

Further information on bowel cancer screening  

Bowel cancer screening kit: how to use it guide 


Using your bowel cancer screening kit videos available in several languages including British Sign Language 

Who to contact for help or information​

GP Directory - locate your local GP


Local cancer support services - find support and information in our local cancer directory 


Cancer Care Map is a simple, online resource that aims to help you find cancer support services in your local area