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NHS Bowel Screening

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.

It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.


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 it's available in your area
  • 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

If you're too young for screening but are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP for advice.

Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bowel cancer at any age – don't wait to have a screening test.


How to get a screening kit

All men and women aged 60 to 74 who are registered with a GP in England are automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.

Make sure your GP has the correct address so your kit is posted to the right place.

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.

NHS screening kits aren't available for people under 60.

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