The UK NSC recommendation on Bowel Cancer screening in adults

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme recommended
Last review completed August 2018
Next review due in 2021/22
Key downloads

The UK NSC recommends a change to the test used in the Bowel Cancer Screening Programmes.  The use of Faecal Immunochemical Test as the primary test for bowel cancer should replace guaiac Faecal Occult Blood Test. 


Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening recommended by UK NSC?

Screening for bowel cancer should be offered every 2 years to men and women between the ages of 50 and 74 in the UK using the faecal-immunochemical test (FIT).

In July 2020, the UK NSC recommended the permanent discontinuation of bowel scope in the English Bowel Screening Programme. Click here for a summary.

More about Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is the general name given to cancer that begins in the large bowel. It can also be referred to as colon cancer and colorectal cancer. Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60.

Read more on NHS.UK

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.


The Assocation of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Beating Bowel Cancer
Bowel Cancer UK
Bowel Cancer Wales
The British Association for Cancer Research
British Association of Surgical Oncology
The British Association of Urological Surgeons
British Society of Gastroenterology
Cancer Research UK
Faculty of Public Health
Joint Advisory Group on GI Endoscopy
Lynn's Bowel Cancer Campaign
Medical Research Council
Northern Ireland Cancer Network
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Radiologists
Royal College of Surgeons
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Society and College of Radiographers
Urostomy Association

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Consultation responses- Bowel cancer (2018) (PDF document, 1.54MB, 02/06/20)
icon Evidence summary appendices- Bowel cancer (2018) (PDF document, 1.94MB, 02/06/20)
icon UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses (2020) programme modification in England (PDF document, 266KB, 10/12/20)

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