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Your results

The bowel screening sample you return to us will be checked for traces of blood.

You’ll receive a letter with your results within 4 weeks of sending us your sample. There are 2 types of results you can get: 'normal' and 'not normal'.


Most people get a normal result. This means that the amount of blood in your stool (poo) sample is below the screening limit.

If you’re aged between 60 and 69, you’ll be invited to retake the test in 2 years.

However, not all cancers or polyps bleed all the time. It is important to see your GP straight away if you notice any symptoms of bowel cancer. Do not wait for your next screening test.

The most common symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • a change in your bowel habits such as going to the toilet more often or diarrhoea that lasts for some weeks
  • bleeding from your bottom (rectum) for no obvious reason
  • pain or a lump in your stomach (tummy)
  • loss of weight when you're not trying to lose weight

Not normal

This means that the amount of blood in your stool sample is above the screening limit.

Blood in your stool doesn’t necessarily mean you have bowel cancer. But you will be asked to take a more detailed test called a colonoscopy.

If you need a colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is carried out in a screening colonoscopy unit in a hospital organised by BowelScreen.

A BowelScreen nurse will phone you to talk about what happens during the colonoscopy. You will need to tell the nurse if you’re taking any medications.

Once it has been determined that you are suitable to have a colonoscopy, the nurse will offer you one within 4 to 6 weeks.

You and your GP will be sent a letter with your results.

Related topic

Colonoscopy after bowel screening

page last reviewed: 29/05/2019
next review due: 29/05/2022