The NHS bowel screening test is changing
Bowel Screening Wales is part of the Screening Division of Public Health Wales. The aim of bowel screening is to reduce the number of people dying from bowel cancer in Wales by 15% by 2020.
Bowel screening is a free NHS test that can be completed at home. Currently, men and women aged 60 to 74 are invited to take part in bowel screening every two years.
Participants are sent a screening test kit and information pack, called a Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBt). This test looks for hidden blood in a person’s poo sample. The test must be completed over 10 days. Two samples are collected from three different poo samples and returned by post to the Bowel Screening Wales laboratory for testing.
For more information about bowel screening, visit: http://www.bowelscreening.wales.nhs.uk
What is changing?
Bowel Screening Wales is introducing a new type of bowel screening kit, which will be called a Faecal Immunochemical Test or FIT kit.
The FIT kit will be sent out to participants every two years
Only one sample of poo will need to be collected
A stick is provided to take a small sample of poo
The person completing the FIT kit will put a small sample in the bottle provided before returning the completed FIT kit to Bowel Screening Wales
Why are we changing the test kit?
Introducing the new FIT kit has lots of benefits. Bowel Screening Wales has been asked by Welsh Government to develop plans to introduce FIT based screening in Wales by 2019.
What are the benefits of the new test kit?
The new FIT test kit has lots of benefits, compared with the current test kit used in Wales:
It is simpler to use
It can be measured more reliably and is sensitive to a much smaller amount of blood
It can detect cancers more reliably and at an earlier stage
It is completed once, instead of three times over 10 days, as with the current kit
As it is a simpler test, we hope that this will increase the uptake of bowel screening
Will anything else change?
The current test kit will gradually be replaced with the new FIT kit, and the supporting information will be updated.
The way participants are invited for screening and everything else will stay the same.
All FOBt test kits sent out to people before the new FIT kit has been introduced should be completed using the instructions provided and returned to Bowel Screening Wales as normal.