Bowel cancer screening

There are several different cancer screening programmes targeted at different age groups, some are also specific to a specific sex because they relate to reproductive organs.

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.

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.

If you have a family history of a specific type of cancer that isn’t part of the national cancer screening programme you should talk to your doctor about whether there are any screening tests which might be helpful in assessing your risk.

Find out more about the bowel cancer screening programme

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