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FAQs

What should I do if my home testing kit does not arrive when expected?

If you think you should have received a screening invitation or home testing kit and it has not arrived, call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

If you've been screened before, the 2-year gap between invitations starts from when you got your last screening result. This could mean your next invitation is delayed by several months if you had further tests after your last screening.

Will my piles (haemorrhoids) affect the home testing kit?

You can still be screened if you have piles (haemorrhoids), although you're more likely to get an abnormal result.

An abnormal result may be caused by blood from your piles or it could be due to polyps or cancer. If blood is found in your poo sample, you'll be offered another test called a colonoscopy to find the cause.

Can I help someone I care for use the home testing kit?

If you care for someone who needs assistance using the home testing kit, you can help them if they understand the screening process and give you permission.

Speak to a GP for advice if they don't have the capacity to give their consent – for example, if they:

Their GP will have access to the person's medical records and knowledge of their overall medical health. They can advise you about what may be in the person's best interests.

For more information on making a decision in someone's best interests, see Making decisions: a guide for family, friends and other unpaid carers (PDF, 547kb).

Should I use the home testing kit if I've had bowel surgery?

You should consider being screened as long as you have a working bowel.

Screening is not helpful only if:

If you've had bowel surgery and you're not sure if screening is suitable for you, check with a GP or call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Can everybody have bowel scope screening at 55?

Some health problems mean that it might not be possible for you to have bowel scope screening. Call the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if you:

Can I have screening for bowel cancer privately?

Bowel cancer screening is available from private healthcare providers but it's not the same as NHS screening.

The NHS programme cares for you through the whole screening process, including any further treatment and care you might need.

With private screening, the care you may need following screening may not be available from the provider.

For more information, see Thinking of having a private screening test? (PDF, 1.1Mb).