What does my bowel cancer screening result mean?

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme helpline is 0800 707 6060

Around 98 in 100 people will receive a normal result and will be returned to routine screening. They will be invited for bowel cancer screening every two years if still within the eligible age range for routine screening. Remember, if you are over 70 you can request a kit by calling the helpline 0800 707 6060.

Around 2 in 100 people will receive an abnormal result. They will be referred for further investigation and usually offered a colonoscopy.

Around 4 in 100 people may initially receive an unclear result which means that there was a slight suggestion of blood in the test sample. This could be caused by conditions other than cancer such as haemorrhoids (piles). An unclear result does not mean that cancer is present, but that the FOB test will need to be repeated. Most people who repeat the test will then go on to receive a normal result.

Chart showing the predicted outcomes of bowel cancer screening

Flowchart of the bowel cancer screening pathway

Predicted outcomes of bowel cancer screening. Please click to see PDF (32Kb)

Click to download PDF (32Kb)

The screening pathway. Please click to see PDF (25Kb)

Click to download PDF (25Kb)