How to do the bowel screening test

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test kit is simple, free and can be done in the privacy of your own home. Just collect 2 tiny samples of your poo using the kit and mail them to the laboratory for testing.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program test kit is free and easy to do. You do the test in the privacy of your own home. Collect 2 tiny samples of your poo using the kit and mail them to the laboratory for testing. You will get your results after about 2 weeks.

If your test kit is damaged, expired or lost, phone the National Cancer Screening Register to ask for a new kit.

National Cancer Screening Register contact

Contact the National Cancer Screening Register to update your contact details or if you have questions about either the National Bowel Cancer or National Cervical Screening Programs. You can call between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, except national public holidays, from anywhere in Australia.

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Before you do the test

The test kit has clear instructions about how to do the bowel cancer screening test. Read these before you do the test.

You don’t need to change your diet or medication before collecting the samples.

    What is in the kit

    The test kit contains:

    Doing the test

    You need to collect 2 tiny samples from 2 separate bowel motions (poos) — one from each poo. Collect the 2 samples as close together as you can.

    Store your samples between 2°C and 8°C (ideally in the fridge) until you post them. Do not freeze your samples. Post your samples to the laboratory for testing as soon as possible. 

    Read our home test kit instructions for more details on doing the test.

    If you need help

    If you need help understanding the instructions, phone the test kit helpline. They will talk you through the test step by step.

      Bowel Screening Test Kit Helpline

      Contact this helpline for help doing the bowel cancer screening test. They will talk you through it, step by step. If you have recently done a bowel screening test and have not received your results in the mail, you or your GP can call this helpline to get your results.

      View contact

      Sending your test

      Keep the samples in the fridge until you’re ready to go to the post office.

      Put the samples in the envelope and take it to the post office as soon as you can. If it takes longer than 14 days from when you take the first sample to when the laboratory receives it, you will be sent another kit and be asked to do the test again.

      It’s best not to put the envelope in a post box outside. Hand it to a person inside the post office or drop it in a post box inside the post office.

      Don't forget to include your participant details form and write the date on your samples.

      Getting your results

      You should receive a letter with your test results about 2 weeks after you post your samples back. Read more about understanding your results.

      Your results will also be sent to:

      • your GP or health service, if you nominated one on the participant details form
      • My Health Record, unless you ticked the box on your participant details form to tell us you don’t want this to happen or you have opted out of My Health Record
      • the National Cancer Screening Register
      Last updated: 
      24 September 2020

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