Bowel screening programme
The purpose of Bowel Screening
Bowel Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, before people are experiencing any symptoms, when treatment is more effective.
If diagnosed early, bowel cancer is highly treatable. Not all bowel cancers are detected early; some are diagnosed too late.
The Bowel Screening Programme
Every two years, residents aged 60-75 will receive an invitation letter to participate in the Bowel Screening Programme.
The letter will be addressed from the UK NHS, Midlands & North West, Bowel Screening Office based in Rugby. This is because the Department of Health and Social Care has appointed this office to manage the programme on our behalf.
Around eight days later a test kit will be posted to you and will enclose the following items:
- a leaflet explaining how to complete the test
- a test card to collect your samples
- some card applicators to help apply your samples to the test card
- a prepaid reply envelope
You will have 12 weeks to return your test kit – though once the first sample has been taken it must be received for testing within 14 days.
Completing the test
This video explains how to use the test kit:
Symptoms and family history
The bowel screening tests are sent to all Isle of Man residents aged between 60 and 75 that are registered with a GP, regardless of whether you have experienced symptoms and/or have a family history of the disease.
However, it is important that you are aware of the symptoms and make a doctor’s appointment if you have any of the below – especially if they persist (don’t wait for the screening results):
- A change in your normal bowel habit lasting 4-6 weeks or more.
- Bleeding from the bottom and/or blood in your faeces (poo).
- Extreme, unexplained tiredness.
- A pain and/or lump in your abdomen.
Remember: Most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer, but your GP will want to examine you and may carry out further tests to rule it out.
In about 25% of cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in the UK there is a family history. In general, the more members of a family affected by bowel cancer and/or the younger they were at diagnosis, the greater the chance of a family link.
Updating my personal details
If you wish to notify the screening organisers of any changes to your address, or to be removed from the contact list, please call freephone 0800 707 6060, choose option 1 and advise the operator that you are on the Isle of Man. It should also be noted that your contact details are provided by your GP, so it is worth checking that these are also up-to-date.
The Bowel Cancer Screening Leaflet contains answers to a number of questions that we are regularly asked by members of the public.
If you have any further questions about the Isle of Man Bowel Screening Programme, contact:
0800 707 6060 Option 1 Midlands Hub
Monday to Friday - 9.30am to 5.30pm
Saturday - 8.30am to 12.30pm
Alternatively, local advice and support can be sourced from:
Isle of Man
+44 1624 650735
+44 1624 650212
Note: This phone number is covered by an answer phone; please leave a message and you will be contacted when the Specialist Nurse is available.
Page last updated October 2017 Review April 2018