Bowel Screening

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland after lung and breast cancer but it is highly treatable if caught early.  In fact, 9 out of 10 people survive the disease if it is detected and treated in the earliest stages. 

The Scottish Bowel Screening  Programme invites all patients between the ages of 50 and 74 for screening every 2 years.  However, less than 50% of our eligible patients attend for screening.

It is important you attend your screening appointment.

 Some facts:

  • Approximately 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer every year.
  • One of the most common cancers in the UK.
  • Largely influenced by age, lifestyle and family history.
  • 1 in 20 people are diagnosed in the UK in their lifetime.
  • 9 in 10 diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60.


Benefits of screening:

  • Reduces the chances of dying from bowel cancer.


Risks of screening:

  • Not all cancers bleed all the time.
  • There could be changes between tests.


Taking the test

  • If you are aged 50-74 you will be sent a free test kit to your home address.
  • You will need to make 3 visits to the toilet to collect small samples of your “poo”.
  • Send the completed test kit in the envelope provided.


What happens next?


  • Results are sent to you and your GP no more than 2 weeks later.
  • You may be asked to resubmit the test - the first test may not have been clear.
  • A negative result means you will be invited again in 2 years time.
  • A positive result means you may be invited for colonoscopy.
  • In between tests see your GP if you are worried about the following symptoms:

            - blood in “poo”

            - change in bowel habit

            - abdominal pain.


What is a colonoscopy?


  • Examination of the bowel using a thin flexible tube with a cameraon one end.
  • Looks for the cause of the bleeding.
  • Usually takes up to half-an-hour as an outpatient.
  • Results are available before you leave clinic.


Contact: Scottish Bowel Screening Centre, Dundee.

( 08000 121833


The following link will provide more information on bowel screening:


Patients with learning difficulties may find this link helpful:

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