The words Life Saving Poo written in toilet roll in white a dark bathroom is behind. Words to the side say: The bowel cancer screening kit can save your life. Just a tiny sample detects signs of cancer before you notice anything is wrong. If you're sent a kit, put it by the loo. Don't put it off.

Millions of people in England, who have been sent a lifesaving home testing kit that can detect early signs of bowel cancer, are being encouraged to use it and return it, as part of a new, first of a kind NHS campaign.

New NHS Campaign urges people to use their bowel cancer home testing kit

Launching today across TV, radio, video on demand and social media, the NHS national campaign aims to increase uptake of the home testing kit to ensure more people are diagnosed with bowel cancer at the earliest stage, when they’re nine times more likely to survive.

The campaign will highlight how quick and convenient it is to complete the test with the advert showing a man joyfully running around his house with toilet roll before completing the test. The ad ends by saying: “Put it by the loo. Don’t put it off.”

Latest data shows the proportion of people choosing to participate in bowel screening has increased to 70.3% – the highest on record. However, almost one third (30%) of people aren’t returning their test kit.

Each month, the NHS posts out more than half a million free Faecal Immunochemical Test kits (FIT) to people to use in the privacy of their homes.

The FIT kit detects small amounts of blood in poo- that would not be visible to people – before someone may notice anything is wrong.

People aged 60 to 74 years who are registered with a GP practice and lives in England are automatically sent a FIT kit every two years. As part of plans to lower the age of people that receive the test to age 50 by 2025, 56-year-olds are sent the test kit and it is currently being rolled out to 58-year-olds.

The FIT kit is quicker to use than the previous bowel cancer screening home testing kit. To use it, people simply need to collect a tiny sample of poo using the plastic stick provided, pop it in the sample bottle; and send it free of charge to the NHS for tests in a laboratory.

Screening is vital in helping the NHS detect bowel cancer at the earliest stage, when it is more likely to be successfully treated.   

NHS chiefs have urged people not to be “prudish about poo”, with people often reluctant to talk about it as a possible bowel cancer symptom due to embarrassment.