BowelScreen says 'do the test' on Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

HSE Press Release: 1st April 2021

Check the register at, or Freephone 1800 45 45 55

BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme is marking the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (April 2021) by urging people aged 60-69 years to check that they are on the bowel screening register, and to do the free home test.

The programme is asking people in their sixties, and their family members, to be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer, and to make sure that they are registered with BowelScreen so that they will receive the FIT test in the mail, when appropriate. People are urged to complete the home test, which takes just a few minutes.

BowelScreen is one of the National Screening Service’s three cancer-screening programmes. It aims to detect colorectal (bowel) cancer as early as possible; and to identify and remove adenomas or polyps (abnormal tissue growths). This greatly reduces the risk of future bowel cancer development.

Bowel screening is a simple process: The programme mails a test kit to the person’s home. It is called the FIT (faecal immunochemical test) and is mailed free of charge to those who are on the BowelScreen register.  Once the person has taken the test, in their home, they return their sample by Freepost. BowelScreen tests the sample for levels of blood. If the result is not normal, the person is referred for a further bowel examination via a colonoscopy.

BowelScreen Programme Manager Hilary Coffey Farrell said: “April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. BowelScreen is urging everyone aged 60 to 69 to avail of its free home test. If you, a friend, or family member are in this age group, and have received an invitation to do the test, we strongly encourage you to complete it.”

Clinical Director of BowelScreen Professor Pádraic Mac Mathuna said: “This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, we urge everyone aged 60-69 years to check that they are on the bowel screening register, and to do the test.

“Bowel cancer (colorectal cancer) is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in Ireland affecting around 2,800 people every year. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland, and it affects both men and women. If detected at an early or pre-cancer stage, bowel cancer is easier to treat and there is a better chance of cure. Bowel Cancer Awareness Month serves as an annual reminder to people in their 60s to do the test. It is free, it is simple, and it could help save their life.”

BowelScreen offers home bowel screening tests for approximately 250,000 people each year in Ireland. Everyone aged 60-69 years is urged to check that they are on the register by visiting, or by calling the Freephone number1800 45 45 55

BowelScreen is the first screening programme to address cancer in men. This Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, BowelScreen encourages men especially to engage with the programme, because traditionally the numbers of men screened have been lower than those for women.

For queries, patients can call the BowelScreen Freephone information line on 1800 45 45 55 or email





Last updated on: 01 / 04 / 2021