Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer. Screening can help find it at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. 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. (this will be extended to 56 in May 2021)
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.
You use a home test kit to collect a small sample of poo and send it to a lab. This is checked for tiny amounts of blood. Blood can be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. Polyps are growths in the bowel. They are not cancer, but may turn into cancer over time.
If the test finds anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.
Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bowel cancer at any age – do not wait to have a screening test.
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How to use the home test kit
The screening kit used in England is the faecal immunochemical test kit – known as the FIT kit.
You collect a small sample of poo on a small plastic stick and put it into the sample bottle and post it to a lab for testing.
There are instructions that come with the kit. You can also find bowel cancer screening kit instructions on GOV.UK.