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Home test

The bowel cancer screening test for people aged 60 or over is a kit you use at home.

This is used to check for tiny amounts of blood in your poo. It does not diagnose bowel cancer, but it's a simple way to find out if you need further tests.

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 your 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 are not available for people under 60.

How to use the kit

There are 2 different kits in use in England:

From June 2019, people will be sent a FIT kit, which will replace the FOB kit.

FIT test

With this kit, you collect 1 sample of poo in a small plastic sample bottle and post it back to a laboratory for testing.

There are instructions with the kit. You can also read the kit instructions online.

The FOB test

With this kit, you collect small samples of your poo and wipe them on a special card.

You take 2 samples of poo on 3 separate occasions and send them back in a sealed envelope for testing in a laboratory.

There are instructions with each kit. You can also read the kit instructions online.

Results

Your result should be posted to you within 2 weeks of sending off your kit.

There are 3 types of result.

Normal result

A normal result means:

This is not a guarantee that you do not have bowel cancer. See a GP if you get symptoms of bowel cancer at any point.

About 98 in 100 people get a normal result.

Unclear result

You'll only get an unclear result with a FOB kit.

An unclear FOB kit result means:

Most people with an unclear test result get a normal result after repeating it.

Abnormal result

An abnormal result means:

A colonoscopy is where a thin tube with a camera at the end is inserted into your bottom to look for signs of bowel cancer.

The bowel cancer screening programme has a leaflet on the colonoscopy test.

You can also watch a video of what happens during a colonoscopy.

About 2 in 100 people get an abnormal result.

More information and advice

Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if:

The Bowel Cancer Screening Programme has guides about: