What is bowel cancer screening and why is it so important?

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers. Screening – which you do in private at home – can help prevent bowel cancer or find it at an early stage when it’s easier to treat.

NHS bowel cancer screening is available to everyone aged 56, and 60 to 74, and is being phased in for 58-year-olds. You can hear stories from some Londoners who have done their bowel cancer screening test by watching our video below.


The free NHS bowel cancer screening kit allows you to collect a small sample of poo which you post back to the NHS from a regular postbox (no stamp is needed).

The samples are checked in a lab for tiny amounts of blood. Blood can be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. Polyps are growths in the bowel which are not cancer, but may turn into cancer over time. Finding polyps early allows them to be removed before any issues arise.

NHS bowel cancer screening kits are for people with no symptoms and most people get the all-clear. If you are sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit, please use it. It could stop cancer before it starts.

Click here for more information on bowel cancer screening, and click here to find out more about the symptoms of bowel cancer.

You can also click through below to find more real stories, a series of FAQs to answer any questions you might have and some campaign resources should you want to spread our campaign messages on social media. Downloadable versions of the above video in multiple languages is available here.