Bowel cancer screening
Regular NHS bowel cancer screening can increase the chances of bowel cancer getting diagnosed sooner when it is easier to treat.
If you are aged 60 - 74 years old, registered with a GP and live in England, you will automatically be sent an at home NHS bowel cancer screening kit every two years. However, the programme is expanding gradually to offer screening for everyone aged 50 - 59 years old.
If you are over 75 years old, you can request a kit every two years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.
If you have any bowel cancer symptoms or have any worries about a family history of bowel cancer, it is important to speak to your GP as soon as possible.
Bowel cancer screening kit
The at home NHS bowel cancer screening kit is called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT). During the test, a small sample of poo is collected using the instructions provided, which you will send to the laboratory to check for tiny amounts of blood.
Your test results will be posted to you within two weeks of you sending back your kit.
Please call the free NHS bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if:
- You have not received your results after two weeks from when you sent your test kit off.
- You want to know more about screening.
- You do not want to be invited for NHS bowel cancer screening.
If you have not received your results after two weeks from when you sent your test kit off, please call the free NHS bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.
There are two types of test results you could receive:
If you are advised no further tests are needed, this means:
- No blood has been found in your poo sample or only a tiny amount was found.
- You do not need any follow up tests.
- A further NHS bowel cancer screening kit will be sent to you in two years' time, if you are under 75 years old by then.
- This is not a guarantee that you do not have bowel cancer, and you should still see the GP if you have any symptoms of bowel cancer, even if you have already done a testing kit.
If you are advised further tests are needed, this means:
- Around 2 in 100 people are asked to have further tests.
- Blood has been found in your poo sample.
- You do not necessarily have bowel cancer. The blood may be due to lots of different reasons e.g., piles. You will be offered a clinic appointment with a Specialist Screening Practitioner to talk about having another test called a colonoscopy, to find out why blood is present. This clinic appointment is usually over the telephone but can be a face-to-face appointment at the hospital if you prefer this.
A colonoscopy is where a thin flexible tube with a camera is passed into your bottom and passed all around your large bowel (colon).
- Access patient information leaflet about a colonoscopy (opens in new window) >
- Access GOV.UK website for information about a colonoscopy (opens in new window) >
How to get to your colonoscopy procedure
- Download map to get to colonoscopy procedure - Royal Derby Hospital [pdf] 380KB (opens in new window) >
- Download map to get to colonoscopy procedure - Queen's Hospital Burton [pdf] 241KB (opens in new window) >
Following the procedure
The specialist screening practitioner will explain the findings of your colonoscopy, and once you are fit for discharge you will receive a copy of the colonoscopy report. The specialist screening practitioner will call you the next working day to check how you are and to give you the opportunity to ask any further questions.