bowel cancer
April 18, 2019

Screening has prevented over 6,000 people from developing bowel cancer

Irish Cancer Society says 5 minute poo test could be the difference between life and death
The Irish Cancer Society says bowel cancer screening has prevented over 6,000 people from developing cancer. However, it is disappointed almost 6 in 10 people invited for bowel screening are not participating and hundreds of lives are being lost each year as a result.

Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society said, “Bowel cancer screening is a very simple at-home test offered free of charge to men and women aged 60-69. All you have to do is place a tiny sample of poo on a test stick and return it by freepost. This sample is then tested to look for signs of pre-cancerous changes that could develop into cancer.“

“Since 2012, this programme has prevented over 6,000 people from developing bowel cancer at all. Hundreds of others have had their cancer detected at an early stage when it was much easier to treat, with no need for chemotherapy and many lives have been saved as a result. The test is free, easy and painless and could be the difference between life and death.  It is a real shame more people are not using it. “

Pat Fahey from Laois was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012. He said, “Because of a family history, I go for regular check-ups so I was lucky in that my cancer was diagnosed early. I am living proof that early detection is vital.”

“I would urge anyone who gets a BowelScreen letter to do the home test – in the vast majority of cases the results will be normal. Some people might see the test as embarrassing or a bit awkward but believe me, there is nothing embarrassing or awkward about doing a simple test that could save your life.”

“Thankfully I am doing well now and feeling good. Taking control of your health is the best decision you will ever make. If I hadn’t been going for regular check-ups my cancer could have been at a much later stage and I could have had a very different outcome.”

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the third most common cancer in women and it is estimated that almost 2,800 people will be diagnosed with it this year.

For more information on BowelScreen, or to check that you are on the register to receive an invitation, call Freephone 1800 45 45 55 or visit  

To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of bowel cancer contact the Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 or email