In a new ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign that is the first of its kind nationally, NHS England is encouraging people who have been sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit to complete the test and return it.
Launching this week across TV, radio, video on demand and social media, the NHS national campaign aims to ensure more people are diagnosed with bowel cancer at the earliest stage, when they’re nine times more likely to survive.
Who will be sent a bowel cancer screening kit?
Each month, the NHS posts out more than half a million free Faecal Immunochemical Test kits (FIT) to people to use in the privacy of their homes.
Anyone aged 60 to 74 who lives in England and is registered with a GP practice will be sent a test in the post automatically, every two years. NHS England is also extending this to include all 50 to 59 year-olds by 2025.
The FIT kit detects small amounts of blood in poo- that would not be visible to people – before someone may notice anything is wrong.
How to use a bowel cancer screening kit?
The NHS is asking anyone who is sent a bowel cancer screening test to put it by the loo and not put it off.
The test is simple to complete and can be done in the privacy of your own bathroom. We've developed a short video for patients on how to use the kit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugRpmXzcNKo.
The NHS have urged people not to be “prudish about poo”, with people often reluctant to talk about it as a possible bowel cancer symptom due to embarrassment.
NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening Steve Russell said: “Screening is one of the best ways to diagnose bowel cancer early, or in some cases prevent it from developing in the first place, so we want more people to do it; and stop this disease in its track.
“The FIT kit offers eligible people a chance to quickly and safely complete a test for bowel cancer at home; and ensure that more cases are detected earlier.
“If you’re sent the kit, help yourself by remembering to complete it. Put it by the loo. Don’t put it off.
“If you haven’t taken a test, but are experiencing bowel cancer symptoms, such as blood in your poo or severe stomach pain, no matter your age, you should speak to your GP as soon as possible.”