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Bowel Screening Wales New Invitation Age 2021

Published: 12th October 2021

Bowel Screening Wales invites people aged 58 and 59 for screening for the first time

From October 2021, the Bowel Screening Wales programme will begin inviting people aged 58 and 59 years old for the first time for bowel cancer screening. The programme will continue to invite those aged 60 to 74 years old who are currently invited.

Evidence shows that screening people at a younger age would enable more bowel cancers to be picked up at an earlier stage, where treatment is likely to be more effective and survival chances improved.

Both men and women, aged 58 to 74, will be invited for bowel screening with a free NHS test kit sent to their homes every 2 years.

Bowel Screening Wales now uses the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit which is easier for people to use and only one poo sample is needed. Invitations and test kits are sent by post to their home and participants are asked to complete the test kit and return it to Bowel Screening Wales in the pre-paid envelope using the Royal Mail postal system.

Dr Sharon Hillier, Director for Screening in Public Health Wales, said: “Our screening programmes in Wales continue to recover following the impact of the pandemic and we are pleased that we are now able to start to offer younger people bowel screening.

“Bowel screening reduces the risk of people in Wales dying from bowel cancer and every year the programme tests over 150,000 kits and from these we are able to identify hundreds of participants who can be offered further investigation or treatment.”

“I would encourage those newly eligible to read the information pack that comes with your test kit carefully, to help you make in informed choice on taking part in bowel screening.”

Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, said: “I would encourage everyone who is eligible – especially all those who are being invited to take part for the first time – to take part. It’s a simple test to do and there’s plenty of information in the test kit.

“Taking part in screening programmes is one of the things we can do to look after our health.”

About the programme

Bowel Screening Wales is one of eight free NHS screening programmes run by Public Health Wales and invites around 280,000 people for screening each year, with around 160,000 test kits returned, and detects more than 200 bowel cancers each year.

Symptoms of bowel cancer can include

•Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo.

•A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit.

•Unexplained weight loss.

•Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.

•A pain or lump in your tummy.

Anyone of any age who experiences these symptoms should contact their GP, regardless of when they had their last bowel screening.

More information on Bowel Screening Wales is available at:   

Public Health Wales is the national public health institute for Wales.

  • We’re your primary source of trusted public health information, independent expertise and world-class research and innovation, to help everyone in Wales live healthier lives.
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