Home / Questions about bowel cancer / Screening

Bowel cancer screening

Regular bowel cancer screening has been shown to reduce deaths from bowel cancer

Some people with bowel cancer have the disease, or are at risk of it developing before any symptoms appear. The screening programme is designed to find those people and treat them more effectively.

The test is not compulsory but we do strongly advise that everyone who is invited ,takes part. The earlier bowel cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Who is eligible for screening?

People aged:

  • 60-74 in England
  • 60-74 in Wales
  • 60-74 in Northern Ireland
  • 50-74 in Scotland

If you are registered with a GP and eligible for bowel cancer screening, you will receive a letter and a leaflet explaining the home testing kit prior to receiving the kit itself. These will be sent to where you live.

If you are over the screening age you may be able to opt-in and request a kit, depending on where you live in the UK. More information can be found from your relevant national Bowel Screening Programme by calling one of the freephone numbers listed here.

What does the bowel cancer screening test do?

The home testing kit tests for faecal occult blood (hidden blood in poo). It does not diagnose bowel cancer.

If the home testing kit detects blood, you will be invited for a consultation with a specialist screening practitioner in your area. During this meeting, your test results and what happens next will be discussed.

Find out more:

How to take the Bowel Cancer Screening Test

Bowel Cancer Screening in the UK

Screening in the UK

Find out more about screening in the UK