Having recently turned 60, this morning I received an NHS letter regarding bowel cancer screening. Apparently, I will be sent a kit in the post in a couple of weeks and I will need to take a "sample" and return it in the post. My first thought was well, with all the c**p I get through the post these days, it will be nice to send some out for a change!!

On a more serious note, I am very impressed with this. I usually start feeling anxious about how I'm going to get to the various screenings you're invited to go on, cervical, breast, etc., due to be pretty immobile these days. So I will definitely be sending my sample back., although I'm quite surprised this isn't against Royal Mail rules, being a hazardous and offensive material!

20 Replies

  • Hi Libby7827, Your not sending stools wrapped in tissue paper.The kit comprises of a card resembling an advent calender, and some little cardboard spatulars. without getting to graphic, you collect a sample on the cardboard spatular, open one of the little flaps and smear the sample inside, then close the flap down. From memory you have to take samples over 3 days then place it in the specially designed envelope and return it.

  • Yes, I know, my brother in law had one last year! I did say was getting a kit in a couple of weeks! I did suspect my attempt at humour may fall flat!

  • Libbygood - a very funny post and mirrors my thoughts. After the warning of two weeks my kit has arrived and so far remained unopened, I would never impose this decision on anyone else though as a recent blood test of mine showed no bowel cancer. I may have tunnel vision and also be incredibly selfish but would have welcomed instead some reassurance in the post that more money is being spend on lung condition specialist recruitment as this seems to me a part of NHS that has been, and is, frighteningly neglected.

    On a lighter note whilst I would not like to be a Royal Mail employee handling this stuff, some of it might come the way of an unknown employee of theirs who handled a recent birthday card I sent (stupidly I know I put some money in it) failed to arrive at it's destination. I know I'm a miserable old craitur today but will lighten up in the coming season and make a serious attempt at the goodwill stuff -promise!

  • Hi Lavender1, unforgiveable to steal so yes, let's hope he gets his just desserts sometime soon.

  • What you say is so true, it really annoys us lung patients that this area of health seems to be sadly neglected. I am very fortunate, only living a couple of miles from Wythenshawe Hospital where the North West Lung Centre is, so feel I've had the best treatment that is available, but who knows? Have noticed a couple of people posting questions/blogs on lung valves and knew nothing about them. Am going to do some research and ask my consultant if I'm a suitable candidate next time I see him, with my luck, I'm probably not, I was turned down for a transplant 2 years ago as my osteoporosis would mean that my ribs could just crumble during the procedure and am not suitable for LVRS as the damage is evenly spread throughout my lungs. Oh well, it's worth asking. Thank you!

  • Keep at them libby if nothing else it will show that at least we are noticing the lack of structure for operations etc. Having read up quite a lot on it I mentioned it to my g.p who when asked said "never heard of it". Ok might be too late for me but the numbers with this illness are mounting and so many younger people seem now to being diagnosed. Just hope they find the skills and the money to deal with this in the near future.

  • I had the same offer but did not fancy having to slice, dice, spread and keep it until ripe (3 days) so did not take it up. I also had thoughts of what if the letter splits open? If anyone does submit a sample let's hope that the birthday card thief decides on one more try!

  • Hmm - that made me smile ! that would be the ULTIMATE deterrent for ALL post thieves !......

  • I have been doing this for years i think it is a good thing if they detect bowel cancer early enough it can be cured after all we are lucky we get it free, i have a friend just out of hospital to-day had a tumour in the bowel removed.....olso my brother had it picked up with this you get a letter back if it is clear if not they have you in for tests, think it is worth doing it.for your own health.

  • My husband has just done this (sorry, no pictures), its very easy and is literally a smear. He has got the all clear. Which is great news as its a killer if missed as symptoms don't appear until things are a bit advanced.

    Whilst he does say poo juggling should be an Olympic sport, I think you should all consider having it done.

    I have to have very regular colonoscopies due to a big family history, my brother died from it age 39, every time I have polyps they have removed them thank goodness. Please, please have the test done.

    Lynne xx

  • I've done it once and yes Libby it is good to post some c**p instead of receiving it. Really looking forward to my kit arriving ! Beware with all this screening, my friend had two abnormal samples went through all the nasty follow ups and everything was fine. This happened to her with breast screening too. Too much screening can cause stress.

    Lib x

  • I'm in Colorado, in the US. We have a yearly health fair and they offer the colon screening via the mail also. When they first started offering the test, the envelope we had to send our sample in was very flimsy and according to one of the technicians, the post office started to complain because the mailboxes were starting to smell like an outhouse. Ha! They now use stronger envelopes. It is a good test to take and from the comfort of your own home, too. Just thought I would share.

  • Libby youre a cracker,laughed so much started coughing nearly choked.

  • Libby, I thought your attempt at humour was c**p!! lol

    From a personal perspective, having lost all my grandparents, my mother (at 49) and my sister (at 34) to various forms of cancer, I would only too gladly take any test/screening that was offered to me. But I also understand those who wish not to take the opportunity of the screening.

  • I was still working when I had my first kit come through. I went to work and went into my Manager ( my friend) and asked the question........

    he is very deaf and not wanting to yell my question I wrote it down.......he then have to poo on a plate! I signed thank you and turned to see the outer office staring at me. Scuttled back to my office with a very red face!

  • Much simpler to do than it sounds, to possibly catch a killer disease early. This is a great initiative and MUST BE SUPPORTED or testing will stop. Merry Xmas XX Valcopd

  • It is a very simple procedure and I have done it a few times now. I have had bowel problems for years but never done anything about it. Following a positive test it was discovered I had diverticular disease which I can now control with medication. It really is just a tiny smear of faeces that is required and very easy to do.


  • Hajoed's story is hilarious - stuff of sitcoms. Not quite the same but it reminded me of the colonoscopy episode in Outnumbered, if anyone ever saw that.

  • Thanks so much to everyone who has left a comment, both humorous and serious. Will definitely be doing the test.

  • Done a few of these. A dear friend of mine came to see me yesterday. She had gradually lost 21lbs over time and wasn't well but the docs didn't know why. She had a positive result and they found 2 polyps which they removed there and then. A week later after pathology she was called back as one was cancerous and so they had to remove the surrounding area. She both looked and felt brilliant - like a new woman, so reckon it was well worth a few minutes over three days pasting poo!


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