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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. NHS Digital runs separate systems in England and the Isle of Man which identify eligible people to be screened. The systems invite those eligible to participate in bowel screening.

New method of authentication: changing how users sign into the Bowel Cancer Screening System

New method of authentication: changing how users sign into the Bowel Cancer Screening System

The Bowel Cancer Screening System (BCSS) is changing the way its users authenticate their identity.  BCSS users will no longer login via Open Exeter.  BCSS is going to move to user authentication via CIS2 and smartcards.

Following a successful pilot, rollout to the rest of the programme has commenced.

Preparing for the new authentication process

BCSS users can prepare for the new authentication process by completing the following actions:

Actions for local registration authorities

Actions for local IT teams

Actions for BCSS users

Learn more about the NHS Care Identity Service 2.


Bowel cancer screening services

NHS Digital runs 2 services:

  1. The Bowel Cancer Screening System for England.
  2. The Isle of Man Bowel Cancer Screening System.

Both of these services:

  • maintain organisation-related information, for example clinical contacts and system users
  • manage the lists of people eligible for screening
  • manage people requiring more regular surveillance review
  • send invitations and manage appointments 
  • send out test kits
  • record test results
  • provide operational and strategic reports

The screening programme

Why it’s offered

Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime. 

Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60. Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it’s easier to treat. 

It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.

Who it's offered to

If you are a resident in England or the Isle of Man you will automatically be invited for screening using a home testing kit. This is offered every 2 years to everyone aged 60 to 74 (inclusive). The programme is currently expanding to also include people aged 50 to 59 years. This is happening gradually over 4 years and started in April 2021.


Full details of the screening programme

Full bowel cancer screening details for patients.

NHS bowel cancer screening (BCSP) programme: detailed information for those interested in how services are commissioned, standards for the programme, education, training and quality assurance.


Request access to the Bowel Cancer Screening System

Hub and screening centre users

The data user certificate needs to be completed to request access to either the Bowel Cancer Screening System for England or the Isle of Man Bowel Cancer Screening System.

The completed form needs to be authorised and sent by the relevant senior information risk owner or information asset owner to: bcssbureauservice@nhs.net

Screening Quality Assurance Service (SQAS) users 

The SQAS data user certificate needs to be completed to request access to the Bowel Cancer Screening System for England.

The completed form needs to be authorised and sent by the relevant senior information risk owner or information asset owner to: bcssbureauservice@nhs.net 

Note: This form is not relevant for the Isle of Man Bowel Cancer Screening Service.

Request removal of access for users of the Bowel Cancer Screening System

To request the removal of access for any individual to either the Bowel Cancer Screening System for England or the Isle of Man Bowel Cancer Screening System a revocation form needs to be completed.

The completed form should be returned to: bcssbureauservice@nhs.net


Contact details

National Helpdesk Exeter
Email: exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net
Phone: 0300 303 4034

Last edited: 24 January 2023 5:18 pm