Menu Links

North Essex Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

People aged 60-74 and that are registered with a GP in North Essex are invited to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

From February 2009 the North Essex Screening Centre, based at Colchester General Hospital, has been giving thousands of people the opportunity to be screened and therefore receive early treatment if they need it. People are invited to take part by letter and will then be sent a free and simple to use test kit in the post to use in the privacy of their own home. The programme uses the faecal occult blood test, which looks for hidden (occult) traces of blood in the stools.

For more info
0800 707 6060

About 98 in 100 people receive a normal result. The test does not diagnose bowel cancer but indicates whether further investigations are required. 2 in 100 people will receive a positive test result which can occur for a variety of reasons, for example, haemorrhoids, diet, medications, as well as cases of bowel cancer and these people will be invited to attend a clinic appointment with a Specialist Screening Practitioner.

People aged 60-74 will usually be offered their first screening around the time of their 60th birthday and then every 2 years after. If anyone has any concerns regarding their bowel habits or health of their bowel then please visit your GP. People aged over 74 years can request a test kit on the freephone helpline 0800 707 6060. This number can also be used for advice by people invited to take part in the bowel cancer screening programme.

Bowel Cancer Screening Video

(Video reproduced with kind permission of

To watch the four-minute video, click on the 'play' button, making sure the sound is turned up first.


The video file is quite large (22 Mb) and if you are using a slow connection you may get a smoother playback if you click 'play' and then click 'pause'. This should start the video streaming into your computer's 'buffer', as shown by the bar beneath the video turning grey. Click 'play' again when the grey bar has progressed further to the right, or has reached the end.

Alternatively, if you are using a slow connection you may want to download the file to your computer before viewing it.

People aged 60 - 74 will usually be offered their first screening around the time of their birthday every two years. If anyone is concerned about their bowel health in the meantime they should see their GP in the usual way. People age 70 and over can call a freephone helpline on 0800 707 60 60 to request a test kit.

This number can also be called for advice by people invited to take up bowel cancer screening. Further information can also be found in the leaflets:

pdf icon Bowel Cancer Screening - The Facts.

pdf icon Bowel Cancer Screening - the Colonoscopy.

Bowel cancer facts

Help for people affected by cancer is available here.