Our Services

Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

The Bowel Cancer Screening Programme provides bowel screening services to people aged 60-74 across Bolton, Wigan and Salford.

People aged over 74 can opt into the programme and request a kit every two years by ringing the Bowel Cancer Screening helpline.

The Bolton Screening Centre has an administrative, specialist nursing and medical team which supports people through the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. Those requiring further investigations after an abnormal result will be seen at Royal Bolton Hospital or you may be offered an appointment at Leigh Infirmary.

You will be required to complete a Covid-19 swabbing test 2-3 days prior to your procedure date, then you will be asked to isolate from this point.

On arrival to the unit you will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms including having your temperature taken by the admitting staff member.

All staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and our procedure rooms will be cleaned before and after your procedure.

On entering the hospital, you will be required to wear a face covering and apply hand gel.

Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage, in people with no symptoms, when treatment is more likely to be effective. Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing.

The screening test detects tiny amounts of blood, which you cannot normally see in your bowel motions. It is called the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT). The FIT test does not diagnose bowel cancer, but the results will tell you whether you need an examination of your bowel, which is called a colonoscopy. With this kit, you collect one sample of poo in a small plastic sample bottle and post it back to a laboratory for testing.

A colonoscopy is an investigation that involves looking directly at the lining of your large bowel through a thin flexible tube with a camera attached. This procedure is the most effective way to diagnose bowel cancer.

For more information about colonoscopy can be found here.

  1. Please read the helping you decide booklets, available in a number of languages.
  2. Bowel cancer screening: easy guide is a leaflet about bowel cancer screening, developed by and for people with learning disabilities.
  3. If you have any questions, please contact the Bowel Cancer Screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.

Completing your bowel screening kit

This short animation explains how to use your bowel screening kit. (Available in other languages)


  • Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer.
  • Over 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.
  • More than nine out of ten new cases (94%) are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases (59%) are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over. Bowel cancer can affect anyone of any age. More than 2,500 new cases are diagnosed each year in people under the age of 50.
  • More than 16,000 people die from bowel cancer in the UK every year.


  • Bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.
  • Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer. However, this drops significantly as the disease develops.
  • Early diagnosis save lives.


  • Blood in your poo (faeces).
  • Looser poo, pooing more often and/or constipation.
  • A pain or lump in your tummy (abdomen).
  • Feeling more tired than usual for some time.
  • Losing weight for no obvious reason.

Please remember that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer. It is important to see your GP if you have one or more symptoms of bowel cancer, and they persist for three weeks or more. It is important to do this even if you have recently had a Bowel Cancer Screening or a Colonoscopy.

Does the invitation system hold my medical details?

No, the invitation system does not hold medical information on individuals, meaning we are not made aware of individuals who may already be undergoing investigations/treatment for bowel conditions.

If you are unsure if you should complete your FIT kit, please contact the Regional Hub on free phone 0800 707 6060.

What should I do if I’m concerned about symptoms but I’m under 60?

If you are under 60 and you are concerned about a symptom or family history then you should speak to your GP. Symptoms can include:

  • 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

It is important to see your GP if you have one or more symptoms of bowel cancer, and they persist for three weeks or more.

I’m in my sixties, what do I have to do to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme?

Individuals who are registered with a GP and aged 60-74 will automatically receive a kit through the post. If you have been expecting your kit but have not received it yet, contact the Regional Hub on 0800 707 6060.

I’m within the screening age range and I’m worried about symptoms so would like my kit early, is this possible?

No, the screening programme is designed to screen people without symptoms. If you have symptoms or you are worried about your bowel health in any way, then you should contact your GP.

What should I do if my home testing kit does not arrive when expected?

If you think you should have received a screening invitation or home testing kit and it has not arrived, call the free phone bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

If you’ve been screened before, the 2-year gap between invitations starts from when you received your last screening result. This could mean your next invitation is delayed by several months if you had further tests after your last screening invitation.

Will the FIT home test kit tell me if I have cancer?

No, the FIT kit test does not diagnose bowel cancer. If you receive an abnormal result, you may be offered a test called a colonoscopy which can identify cancers within the bowel.

How do I use the screening kit?

For information on using the FIT home test kit visit gov.uk or call the Regional Hub on free phone 0800 707 6060 for advice on completing your test kit.

I suffer from haemorrhoids and will this interfere with the screening test?

You can still be screened if you have haemorrhoids, although you’re more likely to get an abnormal result.

An abnormal result may be caused by blood from your piles or it could be due to polyps or cancer. If blood is found in your poo sample, you’ll be offered another test called a colonoscopy to find the cause.

English is not my first language; can I have support when attending my appointment?

Yes, please call the Regional Hub on free phone 0800 707 6060 and we will arrange interpreter services for when you attend your appointment.

I have a hearing or visual impairment; how will this affect my treatment?

Please call the Regional Hub on free phone 0800 707 6060 prior to any appointments so we can arrange an interpreter to support you and ensure that we have all appropriate information (e.g. braille documents) and provide any reasonable adjustment necessary.

Can I help someone I care for complete the home testing kit?

If you care for someone who needs assistance using the home testing kit, you can help them if they understand the screening process and give you permission.

Speak to a GP for advice if they do not have the capacity to give their consent – for example, if they:

  • do not understand the screening process
  • are unable to make a decision about being screened
  • are unable to communicate their wishes

Their GP will have access to the person’s medical records and knowledge of their overall medical health. They can advise you about what may be in the person’s best interests.

Service locations

Royal Bolton Hospital

Key contact numbers

Bowel Screening Office

Tel: 01204 390432

Bowel Cancer Screening Helpline

Tel: 0800 707 6060

Endoscopy Unit

Tel: 01204 390648

Meet the team

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