NHS Screening Programme

Why should you be screened?

• Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective.

• Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing.

Is screening for bowel cancer important?

• About one in 18 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.

• It is the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year (Cancer Research UK)

• Regular bowel cancer screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer – the hidden blood screening test followed by colonoscopy if positive by 16%; “flexi-sig” screening by even more

What is the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme?

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69. This age range is currently being extended from 60 to 74

People in the invitation age range are automatically sent an invitation to their homes, then their screening kit a few weeks later, so they can do the test at home. Your GP will provide your contact details to the screening centre, so it is important that he or she has your correct name and address

After your first screening test, you will be sent another invitation and screening kit every two years until you reach 69 (74 in areas where age extension has already started)

If you are over the invitation age range, you can ask for a screening kit every two years by calling the Freephone number 0800 707 6060