Changes to Bowel Screening Programme in Wales

From October 2022, the Bowel Screening Wales programme will begin inviting people aged 55 to 57 for the first time for bowel cancer screening. This will be implemented in a phased approach over 12 months from October 2022 to September 2023. Eligible people will be invited automatically when they are due; they do not need to contact us to request a bowel screening test kit.  The programme will continue to invite those aged 58 to 74 years old. This is the second stage of the programmes age expansion/optimisation plan.

Evidence shows that screening people at a younger age would enable more bowel cancers to be picked up at an earlier stage, where treatment is likely to be more effective and survival chances improved.

People, aged 55 to 74, will be invited for bowel screening with a free NHS test kit sent to their homes every 2 years.

Bowel Screening Wales now uses the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit which is easier for people to use and only one poo sample is needed. Invitations and test kits are sent by post to their home and participants are asked to complete the test kit and return it to Bowel Screening Wales in the pre-paid envelope using the Royal Mail postal system.

Bowel Screening Wales is one of eight free NHS screening programmes run by Public Health Wales and currently invites around 320,000 people for screening each year, with around 215,000 test kits returned, and detects more than 300 bowel cancers each year. Bowel polyps are small growths on the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum, over 2,000 adenomatous polyps are removed each year. If these aren’t removed, there is a chance that cancer could develop.

Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

B   Bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo

O   Obvious change in bowel habit

W   Weight loss

E    Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason

L    Lump or pain in your tummy

Anyone of any age who experiences these symptoms should contact their GP, regardless of when they had their last bowel screening.

More information on Bowel Screening Wales is available at:   

Public Health Wales is the national public health institute for Wales.

  • We’re your primary source of trusted public health information, independent expertise and world-class research and innovation, to help everyone in Wales live healthier lives.
  • With our partners across government, third sector and local communities, our teams work to prevent disease, protect health and provide specialist expertise.
  • Together we aim to reduce inequalities, increase healthy life expectancy and improve health and wellbeing for everyone in Wales, now and for future generations.

Public Health Wales. Working together for a healthier Wales.

More information about Public Health Wales is available at

Bowel Screening Information Leaflet – this is the information leaflet that we include in our bowel screening invitation pack.

Bowel Screening Instruction Leaflet – this is the instruction leaflet that we include in our bowel screening invitation pack, it explains how to do the test.

Bowel Screening FAQ’s – FAQ’s that are published on our website

Cancer Research UK resources

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