Home screening test to detect signs of bowel cancer

The home screening test is a simple way to check for small amounts of blood in your poo (stool). It is also known as the faecal immunochemical test or ‘FIT test’.

Blood in your poo does not tell you if you have bowel cancer. But it might tell you that you need more tests.

Getting the BowelScreen home test

You must be on the BowelScreen register to get a test.

If your details are on the BowelScreen register and you are aged between 60 and 69:

  1. We send you a screening invitation between your 60th and 63rd birthday.
  2. You reply to the invitation and give your consent.
  3. We send you a test in the post with instructions on how to do the test and return it to us.

How to do the test

BowelScreen home test instructions video

The home test can be done at any time of day or night. You do not need to change your normal routine.

How to do the test:

  1. Collect a sample by scraping the sampling stick on your stool until the end of the stick is covered.
  2. Put the sample stick in the tube.
  3. Seal the tube in the plastic bag.
  4. Add the date when you collected the sample to the outside of the bag.
  5. Use the pre-paid envelope to send the sample back for testing.

Post your test back to us the same day you take your sample, or the next day.

Your test results will be sent to you within 4 weeks. If you have registered your GP's details, they will also receive a copy of your results.

If you are under 60

You cannot get a BowelScreen home test if you are not in the 60 to 69 age group. Screening aims to detect signs of bowel cancer where there are no symptoms.

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP if you:

  • are worried about symptoms of bowel cancer
  • have a family history of bowel cancer
  • have symptoms of bowel cancer between screening tests

People who need additional support (access officer)

If you or someone you care for has a disability, or needs additional support to take part in BowelScreen, we can help.

Email access@bowelscreen.ie or call the Freephone number on 1800 45 45 55 to speak to the access officer.

Bowel screening for people with additional needs

Page last reviewed: 20 October 2022
Next review due: 20 October 2025