Bowel cancer screening

Why screening is offered

Bowel screening is a key way to save lives from bowel cancer. Regular NHS bowel cancer screening can detect invisible signs of bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is the 4th most common type of cancer. Screening can help find it at an early stage, when it's easier to treat successfully.

How to get a home test kit

Everyone aged 60 to 74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. The programme is expanding to include 56 year olds in 2021 where patients will be contacted in due course by the bowel screening programme team.

Make sure your GP practice has your correct address so your kit is posted to the right place.

If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Red flag symptoms 

If you are worried or have any of the symptoms below please see your GP.

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in tummy

More information and advice

Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if:

  • You have not had your result after 2 weeks from when you sent off your kit
  • You want to know more about screening
  • You do not want to be invited for bowel cancer screening

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