Adults aged 56 to 74 to be sent life-saving health tests to their home

Dr Anisha discusses Bowel Cancer symptoms

If you are between the ages of 56 to 74, and you’re registered to a GP, you can expect a bowel cancer screening kit to be posted to your door every two years.

Originally only available to people over the age of 60, the NHS is in the process of expanding the eligibility criteria.

Since April 2021, the screening programme has been expanding to include everyone in their 50s.

Dr Chris Streather, medical director at NHS London, said: “Screening — which you can do in private at home — is one of the best ways to diagnose bowel cancer early.

“Or, in some cases, prevent [bowel cancer] from developing in the first place.”

READ MORE… 7 signs in your poo you need to see a GP – including how often you need to go

Dr Streather added: “We need more people in London to do the test and return their kits; and stop cancer in its tracks.”

Symptoms of bowel cancer

  • Changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
  • Needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
  • Blood in your poo, which may look red or black
  • Bleeding from your bottom
  • Often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
  • Tummy pain
  • Bloating
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Feeling very tired for no reason.

Anybody experiencing such symptoms should book an appointment with their doctor straight away.

You do not need to wait for a screening kit if you are already experiencing troublesome symptoms.

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However, Dr Streather urged: “If you’re sent the kit, join the millions completing theirs this year.”

By 2025, everybody aged 50 and older (and under the age of 75) should receive a bowel cancer screening kit.

The faecal immunochemical test (FIT) involves collecting a small amount of poo that is then sent off to a laboratory.

Test results should be posted to you within two weeks of sending off your poo sample.

If the test finds anything unusual, you might be asked to go to the hospital to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.

About two in 100 people are asked to have further tests, which may detect less serious conditions, such as piles.

Piles, otherwise known as haemorrhoids, are lumps found inside and around your bottom.

People over the age of 75 can also request the bowel cancer screening kit by calling 0800 707 60 60.

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