What is it? 

A Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) looks for blood in your bowel motion (poo). A positive result means blood was found in your sample.

One in 14 people will have a positive FOBT result. But only 1 in 95 will have bowel cancer. Some reasons for a positive test result are:

  • Polyps (non-cancerous growths on the wall of the bowel)
  • Haemorrhoids or anal fissures (small cuts or tears in the anus)
  • An inflamed bowel caused by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or ulcers
  • Bacterial infections or diverticular disease


What will my GP do now?

Your GP will refer you for a colonoscopy. This is when a camera is put into your rectum to look at your bowel.

If bowel cancer is found, you will be referred for treatment. If the cause of your symptoms was not bowel cancer, your GP may be able to treat the cause.


What will my GP do in the future? 

Your GP may follow up how treatment is going. They may also advise changes to your diet and other ways to improve bowel health.


What can I do?

Follow the advice given by your GP. If you have a positive FOBT, make sure you have a colonoscopy to rule out bowel cancer.

Maintain good bowel health by:

  • Eating a healthy and varied diet - eat food high in soluble fibre such as pasta, rice, vegetables and fruit
  • Drinking plenty of water - up to 8 glasses a day and limit caffeine
  • Going to the toilet regularly and trying not to strain when pooing

If you are over 50 years old, do a bowel test every two years. These are free and will be mailed out to you.