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Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - April 2022

- April 2022

Today April 1 marks the beginning of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. 

BowelScreen is asking people aged 60 to 69 to overcome fear and embarrassment and register for their BowelScreen test at or Freephone 1800 45 45 55

You can support BowelScreen by sharing our social media posts on HSE Twitter (@HSELive) across your channels. This includes a Tweet scheduled to go out at 1:30pm and the Facebook post will go out on the HSE Ireland timeline at 2pm today.

Overcoming fear and embarrassment 

Recent BowelScreen research found that fear of finding something wrong is the most common reason for not taking part in the free test.* Yet the majority of changes in the bowel found by screening are actually discovered when they’re easier to treat, and there’s a better chance of recovery.

The research also found 91% of people who are eligible are aware that bowel screening is a good way to identify those who are at risk of developing cancer. Yet a fifth (19%) said they feared the screening process, with ‘embarrassment’ and ‘not knowing they are eligible’ other significant reasons for not taking part.

Bowel cancer is more common than you think… among men AND WOMEN

  • Around 2,800 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Ireland every year
  • It’s the third most common invasive cancer in women in Ireland - with a higher incidence than cervical and ovarian cancer
  • It’s the second most common invasive cancer in men in Ireland.**

Screening can help prevent cancer developing AND detect it before symptoms begin

  • This often means treatment is easier and more effective than if diagnosed later 
  • Screening allows for the removal of pre-cancerous growths (known as polyps), which can prevent cancer from even developing in the first instance 
  • Every year over 3,000 people are referred on through bowel screening to have pre-cancerous growths (known as polyps) removed. 

The free, simple, home FIT kit test could help save your life

  • It’s done in the privacy of your bathroom and posted off in a plain envelope – ensuring discretion
  • For the majority (approximately 95%) of people, the FIT will be the only test required 
  • Only a small minority (approximately 5%), will be referred for a follow-up investigation called a colonoscopy. 

* 43% of respondents. Core Research carried out the research on behalf of the HSE’s National Screening Service. The research involved a national omnibus survey among 320 people aged 60 to 69 (eligible for bowel screening) and three focus groups. The research was carried out from July to December 2021.



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