The minute your test kit arrives get in the loo and spear that poo - Susan Morrison

The envelope plopped rather loudly on the mat, startling the cat. A bulky wee package from the NHS. Not surprising in this house.
They’ve updated both the procedure and the instructions in the bowel cancer screening kitThey’ve updated both the procedure and the instructions in the bowel cancer screening kit
They’ve updated both the procedure and the instructions in the bowel cancer screening kit

The dear old health service and I have been fervent penpals for years. I could paper the downstairs lav with the love notes detailing the appointments for surgeries, scans and invitations to visit my favourite oncologist.

But this was an unexpected surprise. Perhaps they finally issued those loyalty cards I suggested for frequent flyers. What with all the surgeries, radiotherapy and chemo, I’d have enough points to redeem a free cappuccino from the RVS cafe at the Western.

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But no. It was an invitation to take part in the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme, which is welcome, but a bit late. See above.

They’ve updated both the procedure and the instructions, I notice. There's just one wee stabby thing now, and very clear images on how to collect your stool sample. Not sure I needed to see that, but I can confirm that spearing poo is not an easy task, so all advice is to be gratefully received.

Conscious of the cost in sending me a test I don’t need, I called the helpline and got a lovely young chap who apologised profusely and asked me if the letter arriving had been a “trigger”. No, I said. Don’t be silly. To my generation, Trigger was Roy Rogers’ horse.

And if you remember that golden palomino, then these kits will be dropping through your letterbox, too. Do this test.

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The minute it arrives, drop everything and do it. Well, within reason, obviously. Get to the loo first.

I received a screening letter a decade ago. It sat in the pile of paper in the kitchen until I chucked it out. I was too busy and a bit squeamish.

That test would have caught my tumour early. Now I live with the anxiety of stage four cancer.

I am lucky. I have a brilliant oncologist and fantastic surgeons, but life would have been a lot easier if I had sent that sample back. So. Get in the loo and spear that poo.