Bowel screening

4,000 men and women  are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Scotland every year. Early diagnosis greatly increases the chance of complete cure. The symptoms to look out for include a change in the normal pattern of bowel function, the passage of blood with bowel motions, unexplained weight loss and unexplained tiredness or lethargy which may be signs of anaemia.

The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme automatically invites all men and women in Scotland between the ages of 50 to 74 for screening every two years. Over this age you can still request a test kit every 2 years by phoning 0800 0121833

Why is it important that I take the test?

  • Bowel cancer is more common in people over the age of 50, especially in men.
  • 1 in 20 people over the age of 50 will currently develop bowel cancer.
  • Screening aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms enabling a far greater chance of complete cure.
  • The screening test looks for hidden blood in bowel motions which can be a sign of bowel cancer.
  • Screening often identifies other important bowel conditions apart from cancer. One such example are non-cancerous growths called polyps which can be removed and prevent cancer developing in the future.
  • For every 650 people invited for screening one bowel cancer death will be prevented resulting in 150 less deaths from bowel cancer in Scotland every year.


For more information on the Bowel Screening Programme, visit or call 0800 0121 833.