Bowel Cancer Screening
Bowel cancer screening is offered every two years to men and women aged 60 to 74. People older than this can ask for a screening kit every two years by calling the free helpline on 0800 707 60 60. Screening is always a choice. The purpose of bowel cancer screening is to:
- detect bowel cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat
- find polyps, which may turn into cancer over time if not removed
In August 2018, ministers agreed that in the future bowel cancer screening in England will start at the age of 50. The NHS has started to reduce the age range for bowel cancer screening. Across the Calderdale Kirklees and Wakefield area (CKW) we are now also screening men and women aged 56 years and 58 years. This will be further extended over the next couple of years (to include ages 50-74 years).
Condition screened for
Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where it starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. The NHS website has more information, including:
- symptoms of bowel cancer
- causes of bowel cancer
- treatment for bowel cancer
The screening test - Faecal immunochemical test (FIT)
A new test kit called the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) was introduced in England in June 2019. This kit is an easier test to complete and is sent with all invitations for bowel cancer screening.
People eligible for bowel cancer screening get an invitation letter, along with an information leaflet explaining screening and its possible benefits and risks.
About a week later, the programme sends a FIT kit with instructions on how to use it at home. Results are sent out two weeks after the laboratory receives the completed kit.
The screening programme offers individuals with an abnormal screening result an appointment with a Specialist Screening Practioner (SSP) to discuss whether a further diagnostic test is appropriate. The gold standard is a colonoscopy. This is performed by Bowel Cancer Screening Accredited Colonoscopists.
In our lifetimes we will be offered numerous opportunities for screening via the NHS. These videos explain the screening you'll be offered as a female or a male.
Please feel free to contact the CKW screening centre on 01422 222913 or the Screening hub 0800 707 60 60 if you have any further questions in relation to Bowel Cancer Screening.