Bowel Screening

Storing the samples and posting them

When doing a Faecal Occult Blood test, the stool samples (faeces) have to be collected from three separate motions. Samples may be taken from three motions in a row or on three different days, which do not have to be consecutive. All the samples must be collected within 14 days. After taking the first sample the test kit must be stored somewhere while waiting for the next one. The kit should not be left in a warm place or in direct sunlight. 

Most people kept their test kit in the bathroom, in a cabinet, a drawer, or in a plastic bag or plastic box.

One man kept his kit beside his toothpaste so that he would be reminded to collect another sample the next day. Someone else kept the kit in an empty bath and another person kept hers on a cold tile. One woman was worried that her flat was too warm so she kept her test kit in her 'bogy hole', a cool cupboard where she kept her brooms. 

After all the samples have been collected people are asked put the test kit into a prepaid envelope and then in the post. Most people seemed to be happy about this, but a few either worried about hygiene, felt embarrassed or anxious about the idea of putting faeces in the post, or worried that the envelope might be opened. However, the information that arrives with the test kit makes it clear that the envelope meets postal regulations and is safe to send. 

Last reviewed May 2016.

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