Coronavirus – Covid-19 Update
Due to COVID -19 there may be a delay in receiving your bowel screening FIT test kit.
If you have any of the following symptoms please contact your GP:
- a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain
- blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids
- abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss
The South of Tyne Bowel Cancer Screening Centre
The South of Tyne Bowel Cancer Screening Centre manages the screening service across Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland in collaboration with Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside & Sunderland Foundation Trust.
Bowel cancer screening is offered to both men and women and is a test you will complete at home.
The FIT (faecal immunochemical test)
The FIT (faecal immunochemical test) kit, replaced the FOB (faecal occult blood) home test kit and is automatically sent by post every two years from age 60 – 74 if you are registered with a GP.
However as of autumn 2021, 56 year olds are now invited as part of an age extension programme that will eventually include 50 – 59 year olds. People over 75 are more than welcome to continue with screening every two years by contacting us on the free phone number 0800 707 60 60 and requesting a kit.
FIT is a simple stool sample test that you complete at home and send back to the screening centre in a special envelope that is included. It is looking for hidden blood in the sample and can detect tiny amounts that may not be vissible to you. This could be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer. Many bowel abnormalities which may develop into cancer over time, are more likely to bleed than normal tissue.
The service manages with national guidance from the NHS Cancer Screening Services who are part of NHS England. They provide a complete screening service and manage the freephone number which deals with enquiries regarding the bowel cancer screening programme.
Bowel cancer screening aims to detect pre cancer bowel growths and bowel cancers at an early stage (in people with no symptoms) and reduce deaths from bowel cancer.
How to use the home test kit
There are instructions that come with the kit. You can also find bowel cancer screening kit instructions available in a range of different languages on GOV.UK
About 1 in 15 men (7%) and 1 in 18 women (6%) in the UK will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime. It is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, with over 16,000 people dying from it each year. If you have any questions about the bowel cancer screening programme, have missed your screening and would now like to take part, or want to know when you will be offered screening contact free phone 0800 707 6060.