Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. If it’s detected at an early stage, before symptoms appear, it’s easier to treat and there is a better chance of surviving it.
All men and women aged 60 – 74 will automatically be sent a screening kit every two years
If you are 75 or over you can request a kit by calling the free phone number 0800 707 6060
People younger than 60 are not eligible for the screening test, but can have bowel scope screening, for further information please call the free phone number 0800 707 6060.
The bowel cancer screening test
The bowel cancer screening test is called the faecal immunochemical test (FIT).
The FIT looks for tiny traces of blood in the sample of poo which can be a sign of bowel cancer.
How to do the FIT?
You don’t need to respond to your screening invitation to take part. You will automatically be sent a testing kit (about 2 weeks later). You do the test in your own home. The test is clean and simple. You only need to collect one sample of poo.
In the envelope you receive, there is:
- a detailed leaflet with instructions on how to do the test
- a tube with a stick in it to collect your sample
- prepaid specially designed (hygienic) envelope for you to send it back
The easiest way to collect the sample is to use an old plastic container, line it with toilet paper and pop it in the toilet. And then have a poo.
Once you have collected your poo:
- dip 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
- write the date on the side of the tube
- you may need to put a sticker from the letter on the side of the tube marked with + (this is only for people in Scotland)
- put the tube into the prepaid envelope and post it
If you have any concerns regarding your bowel health please speak to your GP.