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Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime. You may feel fit and well on the outside but you can’t always tell what’s happening on the inside.

Research suggests that over 90 per cent of bowel cancer patients will survive for more than five years if they are diagnosed at the earliest stage (Cancer Research UK).

Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at early stages, ideally before people are experiencing symptoms, and when treatment is more likely to be effective.

When is it offered?

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, if it's available in your area - Dorset has now fully rolled out the Bowel Scope Screening programme (April 2018).
  • If you're 56-59 and have not been automatically invited for Bowel Scope Screening but would like to participate, please ring our Southern helpline on 0800 707 60 60 and ask to self-refer.
  • If you're 60 to 74, you'll automatically be sent a Home Test Kit to complete every 2 years.
  • If you're 75 or over, you can request a home test kit every 2 years by calling the free Bowel Cancer Screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60

If you're too young for screening but are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP for advice.

Always see a GP if you have symptoms which are worrying you, whatever your age – don't wait to have a screening test.

Screening centres

The screening centre for the Dorset bowel cancer screening programme is based at Poole Hospital, with satellite screening sites at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Bowel scope screening is also offered at Victoria Hospital, Wimborne and Swanage Community Hospital.

Types of screening test

There are two types of test used in NHS bowel cancer screening:

  • Bowel Scope Screening – a test where a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is used to look for and remove any polyps inside your bowel. This is a one-off test offered for GP registered men and women in Dorset aged 55. If you are aged 55-60 and missed out on bowel scope screening, you can opt-in by calling 0800 707 60 60.
  • Home Test Kit – a kit you use to collect small samples of your poo and post them to a laboratory so they can be checked for tiny amounts of blood (which could be caused by cancer) If these tests find anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer. These are offered to all GP-registered men and women aged between 60-74 in Dorset every two years. Those over age 75 and over can request a screening kit, if they wish to take part, by calling 0800 707 60 60.

Further information

Visit the NHS Choices or Bowel Cancer UK

To talk to a Bowel Cancer Screening Programme advisor, telephone the Southern Hub on 0800 707 60 60.

To contact the Dorset Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, telephone  01202 44 8751.

Advice on maintaining a healthy bowel

Hospital services A-Z

Contact us

Phone handset graphicBowel cancer screening information:

0800 707 60 60

Dorset Bowel Cancer Screening office helpline (8am-6pm):

01202 448751

Southern Hub:

0800 707 60 60

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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