Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers. Anyone can get it.
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.
That’s why the NHS sends out free bowel cancer screening kits to use at home.
They allow you to collect a small sample of poo which you post back to the NHS from a regular post-box (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. They are not cancer but may turn into cancer over time.
Everyone aged 60 to 74 years who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. The programme is expanding so that everyone aged 50 to 59 years will be eligible for screening. This is happening gradually over 4 years and started in April 2021 with 56-year-olds and 58-year-olds in London invited from May 2022.
This home testing kit was introduced in June 2019 across England and is easier and more convenient to use than the previous bowel cancer screening test.