The NHS are urging people who receive a bowel cancer screening kit to complete the test.

With April being Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, health officials said its early detection increases survival rates by up to nine times.

The screening kit is simple to complete and can be done in the privacy of ones bathroom.

Dr Will Taylor, medical director for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire said: "Screening is one of the best ways to diagnose bowel cancer early, or in some cases prevent it from developing in the first place.

"The FIT kit offers eligible people a chance to quickly and safely complete a test for bowel cancer at home and ensure that more cases are detected earlier.

“I would urge everyone who is sent a kit to return their test as quickly as they can, because this can detect the early signs of bowel cancer and ensure that anyone affected can get treatment for the disease as soon as possible.”

Individuals between the ages of 60 to 74 who live in England and are registered with a GP practice will be sent a test in the post automatically, every two years.

By 2025, NHS England plans to expand this scheme to include everyone aged 50 to 59.

The kits are sent primarily to those at high risk, however everyone should be aware of bowel cancer symptoms.

These symptoms can include bleeding from the anus, blood in poo, noticeable changes in the frequency of bowel movements, unexplained weight loss, persistent fatigue, and pains in the tummy.

Regardless of age, anyone presenting these symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical assistance.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with more than 16,500 deaths recorded annually - an average of more than five deaths per day.

For further information, go to the NHS website at