The UK NSC recommendation on Bowel Cancer screening in adults (currently in consultation)


This recommendation is currently being reviewed as part of the UK NSC's regular review cycle of all policies.

The review process began in Jun 2015 and is estimated to be completed by Aug 2018.

» Download the expert review documents for Bowel Cancer as a zip file

The UK NSC welcomes comments and feedback on the expert review during the consultation period that lasts from 08/01/2018 until 08/04/2018. Please send comments to us by e-mail using this feedback form.

Please note that all consultation submissions will be published on this page when the review is complete. Full details can be found in the confidentiality and disclosure section at the bottom of this page.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme recommended

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.

More about Bowel Cancer

Colorectal cancer – commonly known as colon cancer, or bowel cancer – is any cancer that affects the last section of the digestive system. This usually means the colon (large bowel) or rectum (back passage).

» Read more about bowel cancer on NHS Choices

» Read more about bowel cancer on Cancer Research UK

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.


The Assocation of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
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
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.

Recommendation Review History

Bowel cancer screening by Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) testing for men and women aged 50 to 74 was recommended by the UK NSC in July 2003 (the meeting minutes are available and the report on the evaluation of the UK colorectal cancer screening pilot can be downloaded below).

In 2011, the UK NSC agreed that screening for bowel cancer using flexible sigmoidoscopy also meets the UK NSC criteria. This review is available in the related documents section below.

In 2015 the UK NSC recommended a change to 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. The review documents and UK NSC recommendation statement are available in the related document section below.

Related documents

icon Evaluation of the UK Colorectal Cancer Screening Trial May 2003 (PDF document, 1.68MB, 28/03/14)
icon FIT_Bowel_cancer_recommendation_January 2016 (PDF document, 75KB, 08/01/18)
icon FIT_Economic_Evaluation_July 2015 (PDF document, 1.44MB, 08/01/18)
icon FIT_pilot_evaluation_July 2015 (PDF document, 1.44MB, 08/01/18)
icon FIT_review_summary_June 2015 (PDF document, 303KB, 08/01/18)
icon FIT_UKNSC_Cover_Sheet_and_Redacted_Consultation_Comments_November 2015 (PDF document, 1.44MB, 08/01/18)
icon Re-appraisal of the options for colorectal cancer screening using flexible sigmoidoscopy (PDF document, 906KB, 08/04/11)
icon Review of Bowel Cancer against NSC Criteria 2000 (PDF document, 284KB, 26/08/09)

Confidentiality and disclosure

Information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be subject to publication or release to other parties or to disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004). If you want information, including personal data that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence.

In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the UK National Screening Committee.

Any request for information to be treated in confidence will be taken into consideration in the publication of responses to the consultation. The UK National Screening Committee intends to publish all responses following the closure of the consultation period, however we will not publish responses from respondents who request that any of the information in their response, including personal data, should be handled in confidence. The UK National Screening Committee reserves the right not to publish or take into account any representations which are openly offensive or defamatory.

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