The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69. People over 70 can request a screening kit by calling a freephone helpline when the programme reaches their area. GPs are not directly involved in the delivery of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme but they will be notified when invitations for bowel cancer screening are being sent out in their area. They will also receive a copy of the results letters sent to their patients.
About one in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime. It is the third most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year. Regular bowel cancer screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent.
Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective. Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing
For further bowel screening information please visit the NHS Choices website http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/bowel-cancer-screening/Pages/Introduction.aspx