Why it's offered
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. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.
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
More information and advice
Bowel Scope Screening test
Home Testing Kit
Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if:
- your kit has not arrived when you expected it
- you have not had your result after 2 weeks from when you sent off your kit
- you want to know more about screening
- you do not want to be invited for bowel cancer screening
In 2016 the UK NSC recommended that the NHS Cervical Screening Programme should adopt the test for high risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) as the primary (first) test carried out on the sample taken at screening.
HPV testing has been used in the cervical screening programme for several years in HPV triage and HPV test of cure. By the end of 2019 the HPV test will be the first test carried out on all cervical screening samples in England. This process is called HPV primary screening.
This screening programme is available to women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 in England.
All eligible people who are registered with a GP (as female) automatically receive an invitation by mail. Trans men (assigned female at birth) do not receive invitations if registered as male with their GP, but are still entitled to screening if they have a cervix.
The first invitation is sent to eligible people at the age of 24.5 years. People aged 25 to 49 receive invitations every 3 years. People aged 50 to 64 receive invitations every 5 years.
For more information click on the link below: