Bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer screening is offered free of charge to all men and women aged 60 to 74. It is offered at that age because eight out of ten people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, but it’s a subject some people feel awkward talking about and they may not be keen on completing the screening kit.

The screening is important, because if bowel cancer is detected early, the treatment is more likely to be successful and the chance of survival is more than 90 per cent.

There won’t necessarily be any visible symptoms of bowel cancer, so it’s important that anyone who is sent a kit completes and returns it.

You can contact your GP if you need any advice, and you can also order a free home testing kit by calling 0800 707 60 60.

How it works

People aged 60 will automatically receive a screening kit to complete in the privacy of their own home.

The kit includes:

  • An orange and white cardboard test kit
  • Six cardboard sticks
  • A guidance leaflet
  • A prepaid return envelope.

To complete the test simply provide tiny samples from three separate bowel motions (poos) using the cardboard sticks then return the kit for testing, using the special hygienic envelope.

The test is then repeated every two years until the age of 74 because regular screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from the disease by at least 16 per cent.

Find out more from the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme here.

Videos: Dr Safiy Karim explains more about the test and how to use the kit

How to complete a bowel cancer screening kit (English)

How to complete a bowel cancer screening kit (Urdu)

How to complete a bowel cancer screening kit (Punjabi)