Polyps and bowel cancers sometimes bleed, and the faecal occult blood (FOB) test works by detecting tiny amounts of blood which cannot normally be seen in bowel motions. 'Occult' means hidden. The FOB test does not diagnose bowel cancer, but the results will indicate whether further investigation (usually a colonoscopy) is needed.
People who receive an abnormal result will be offered an appointment with a specialist nurse. The nurse will explain what a colonoscopy involves, assess the patient's fitness for the procedure, and answer any questions.
The FOBt kit, and cardboard sticks used for sample collection
- NHS BCSP home page
- Programme publications
About bowel screening
- Why screen for bowel cancer?
- What is the purpose of bowel cancer screening?
- How is the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme organised?
- Who is eligible for bowel cancer screening?
- Age extension to bowel cancer screening
- How are GPs involved in bowel cancer screening?
- How much does bowel screening cost?
- How does the screening process work?
- What does my bowel cancer screening result mean?
- How does the FOB test work?
- What is a colonoscopy?
- What are the risks of colonoscopy?
More information about the
- Who does what in the NHS BCSP?
- List of hubs and screening centres
- NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Evaluation Group
- Bowel cancer
- GP Pack (Information for primary care)
- NHS bowel cancer training centres in England
- The English Bowel Screening Pilot
- Evaluation of English Bowel Screening Pilot
- Evaluation of the second round of the English Bowel Screening Pilot
- Use of patient information
- Frequently asked questions
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Programme news index
- Research in bowel cancer screening
- Useful links