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About Bowel Screening

What is bowel screening?

Bowel screening looks for bowel cancer before symptoms show. At least 9 out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer if it is found and treated early. Bowel screening aims to find cancer at an early stage when treatment is likely to be more effective.

Bowel screening involves completing a home test kit. The screening test looks for hidden blood in your poo.

People aged between 51 and 74 years old registered with a doctor in Wales will be offered bowel screening every 2 years.

About bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Wales. Over 2,200 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed  every year in Wales.

Bowel cancer is more common as you get older. Most cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in people over the age of 50.

Bowel cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum. It is also known as colorectal cancer.

The cells in your body usually divide and grow in a controlled way. When cancer develops, the cells change and can grow in an uncontrolled way.

Most bowel cancers develop from polyps. A polyp is a small growth on the lining of the bowel. Not all polyps develop into cancer. If polyps are found, they can be removed to stop them developing into cancer.

Find out about signs and symptoms.

To find out more, visit:

Bowel cancer - NHS (
Bowel Cancer | Bowel Cancer UK


Why is taking part in bowel screening important?

Taking part in bowel screening when invited is something that you can do to look after your health.

Screening is important because it can:

  • Find cancers before symptoms show
  • Treat cancer early, giving you the best chance of survival.

You may feel well even if you have early bowel cancer.


How accurate is bowel screening?

Completing a bowel test kit every 2 years is the best way of finding bowel cancer early. The bowel screening test looks for hidden blood in your poo however not all cancers bleed. This means some cancers may not be found.

Bowel screening is not 100% accurate.

At least 9 out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer if it is found and treated early.

You can get bowel cancer at any time. It is important to speak to your doctor if you notice any changes even if you have recently completed your bowel test kit.


Family history

Some people are more at risk of having bowel cancer because it runs in their family.

Your doctor may refer you to the All Wales Genetics Service if you have a family history.

If you are worried about bowel cancer running in your family speak to your doctor or visit the Genetic Service website for more information. 

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