Bowel cancer symptoms and screening

01 December 2020

Bowel screening services are running across north east London. If you're 60 to 74 and registered with a GP, you will automatically be sent a home testing kit every two years. You should follow instructions and return this test. More information on the test is below. 

However, regardless of your age, if you spot any symptoms such as blood in your poo, a persistent change in your bowel habit or persistent abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort, please contact your GP immediately for an appointment

Services are running and it is vital that you attend. It is safe to attend services and additional measures are being taken to protect you from Covid, such as extra PPE, face-coverings for patients and social distancing. 

When diagnosed at its earliest stage, 9 out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer for five years or more. 

Bowel FIT testing 

If you receive a home testing kit – called a FIT test, please use it and return it. FIT tests are done at home and are quick and easy to do. 

The test looks for tiny traces of blood that you can’t see in the sample of poo which can be a sign of bowel cancer.  Bowel cancer picked up at an earlier stage  is easier treat and survival rates are better. 

If your test is positive, you may be invited for follow up appointments and tests. It’s important to attend these. If you think you have may symptoms of Covid, please let the service know and they will reschedule your appointment. 

If you think you should have received a test kit and haven’t, please contact the free bowel screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60. 

How does the test work? 

The kit checks 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. 

The kit used in England is called the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit. With this kit you collect one sample of poo in a small sample bottle, you are given a self-sealing, freepost envelope to send the test back to the screening centre.  

You will get your test results back in about two weeks. Instructions are included with the kit. You can also watch videos or read more online about how to collect a sample. 

More information on bowel screening 

Please click on the links below: