Is your bowel cancer screening kit sitting at the back of a drawer?

If you’re 56 to 74, you should have received your bowel cancer screening kit through the post. That’s because the NHS automatically sends a kit every two years to people in that age group.

Nine out of every 5,000 people who use their test kit turn out to have cancer. But if it’s spotted early, the chances of recovering from bowel cancer are higher.

The test can be done in the comfort of your home and only needs a tiny sample of poo to test for signs of cancer.

So, keep an eye out for your bowel cancer testing kit in the post, or dig out the one that you put away in that drawer and forgot about. And then put it by the loo. Don’t put it off.

Find out more about bowel cancer screening at

About cancer

Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. It sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis.

One in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the Black Country, the most common types of cancer are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Skin cancer

In the Black Country we have specific actions to reduce health inequalities through our Core20Plus5 work. Half of the population of the Black Country are identified as in the most deprived 20% areas. For cancer this means that we are working towards earlier cancer diagnosis, with 75% of cases diagnosed at Stage 1 or 2 by 2028.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way.  Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer such as:

  • healthy eating
  • taking regular exercise
  • not smoking

For details on all other cancers see the NHS Website 

Don't let the thought of cancer play on your mind. Clear on cancer - help us help you.If something in your body doesn’t feel right, don't let the thought of cancer play on your mind. It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable.

Contact your GP practice if you experience any of the below symptoms:

  • tummy trouble, such as discomfort or diarrhoea for three weeks or more
  • blood in your pee even just once
  • unexpected or unexplained bleeding
  • unexplained pain that lasts three weeks or more
  • an unexplained lump
  • a cough for three weeks or more (that isn’t COVID 19).

Not all the symptoms of cancer are easy to spot. Contact your GP practice if you experience one or more of these symptoms, for three weeks or more:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • feeling tired and unwell and not sure why
  • heartburn or indigestion
  • unusual, pale or greasy poo.

Your GP may refer you for tests to rule out cancer. Most people who go for tests find out it’s not cancer. Finding out sooner is always better. Whatever the result, your NHS is here for you.

Read more about the signs and symptoms of cancer and what to do from

Screening programmes detect cancer early

Screening is the process of identifying healthy people who may have an increased chance of a disease or condition. If detected early its easier to treat. For more information, check out this screening timeline leaflet .

If you are eligible you will get information through the post for these three cancer screening programmes:


Living with and beyond cancer

Living with and beyond cancer (LWBC) is a program of care for cancer patients in the UK. It helps them from diagnosis to recovery. Find out about support that is offered.


Raising cancer awareness within our communities

Macmillan and Black Country Integrated Care Board are working alongside community groups to raise awareness around cancer. Read about what we are doing across the Black Country area.

You might also be interested in...