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New NHS campaign urges people to use bowel cancer home testing kit

In a new ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign, NHS England is encouraging people who have been sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit to complete the test, highlighting the message ‘Put it by the loo. Don’t put it off. Your next poo could save your life’.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and detecting it at the earliest stage makes it up to nine times more likely to be successfully treated. But, almost one third of people who were sent an NHS bowel cancer screening test in England last year did not go on to complete it.

The Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit is simple to complete and can be done at home. The test can detect invisible amounts of blood in stool, before someone may have any symptoms or concerns.

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. The programme is expanding to make it available to everyone aged 50 to 59 years. This is happening gradually over 4 years. People aged 56 are now also sent the test kit and it is currently being rolled out to those aged 58.

Anyone concerned they may have missed their invitation or have lost or thrown away their FIT kit can call the free bowel screening helpline for advice on 0800 707 6060.