Bowel cancer screening involves testing people without any obvious symptoms of bowel cancer. Screening with a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) is recommended for healthy people aged over 50.
Bowel cancer can occur at any age, but the risk is greater if you're over 50.
Your risk of bowel cancer also increases if you:
If these factors apply to you, talk to your doctor about your risk of bowel cancer.
Try the Bowel Cancer Risk Calculator to help you identify things that may increase your risk of bowel cancer. It will also indicate your risk of bowel cancer based on your personal and family history of polyps and cancer.
You can help to reduce your risk of bowel cancer by:
If you follow this advice, it doesn't mean you'll never get bowel cancer, but it can reduce your risk and has other health benefits too.
Not all bowel cancers show symptoms but you should see your doctor if you notice any of the following:
Usually there's a simple explanation for these symptoms, but if you do have bowel cancer, it's best to find it early.