April is bowel cancer awareness month. Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime.
Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat.
Types of screening test:
There are 2 types of test used in NHS bowel cancer screening:
- Bowel scope screening – a test where a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is used to look for and remove any polyps inside your bowel
- Home testing kit – a kit you use to collect small samples of your poo and post them to a laboratory so they can be checked for tiny amounts of blood (which could be caused by cancer)
If these tests find anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.
When it's offered:
NHS bowel cancer screening is only offered to people aged 55 or over, as this is when you're more likely to get bowel cancer:
- If you're 55, you'll automatically be invited for a one-off bowel scope screening test
- If you're 60 to 74, you'll automatically be invited to do a home testing kit every 2 years
- If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a home testing kit every 2 years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 freephone 0800 707 6060 for more information
If you have any questions about bowel cancer screening, contact the team on free phone 0800 707 60 60 freephone 0800 707 6060 for more information or visit the website.