BowelScreen (The National Bowel Screening Programme)

Data Collection Type
National data collections of health and social care in Ireland

National Screening Service.

Year established


Statement of purpose

Bowel screening aims to find bowel cancer at an early stage in people who have no symptoms. If bowel cancer is found early, there is a much better chance of treating it successfully.

Screening data collected allows for BowelScreen to maintain a record of key performance indicators pertaining to individual consultant’s clinical performance in screening centres. Monitoring this information is essential to ensure quality assurance for the programme.

Screening for adenomas, pre-cancer lesions and bowel cancer in people with no symptoms is in scope.

Coverage (geographical and temporal)

National - Men and Women aged between 60 and 69 years inclusive.
Men & Women can be added to the register via two pathways:
1. Notification from the Dept. of Social Protection,
2. Self-register by calling freephone. Men & Women can verify that they are on the register online.
Records will remain inactive until the Man or woman reaches 60 years.


BowelScreen maintains a population register containing demographic data of eligible men and women aged 60-69 for the purposes of screening. It also contains data so that men and women, who have completed the BowelScreen home test kit (FIT), can be contacted, if necessary, for follow up treatment. All eligible men and women aged between 60 and 69 years are invited every 2 years to complete a home test kit.

Data users

Internal stakeholders - NSS and Programme staff.

External stakeholders - database software providers, FIT kit distributer, letter printing company, call management centre, FIT laboratory analysis staff (clinical and administrative), Hospital endoscopy (clinical and administrative), histopathology laboratories (clinical and administrative), radiology (clinical and administrative) and surgery (clinical and administrative), General Practitioners.

Data content

Client demographic data; clinical examination/results of screening; further assessments/data on cancers detected; outcome of treatments/follow-up data may be included after consideration; standardised data sheets completed by surgeons; standardised data forms completed by pathologists; biopsy reports/hospital pathology records.
To Maintain client confidentiality, each client has a unique identification number on the register, known as a Colorectal ID or COR ID.

Data dictionary

Not available.

Development of a data dictionary commenced.

National-level identifier variables

PPSN -incomplete coverage within the BowelScreen Register database.

IHI- field to be added to BowelScreen register when IHI available.

Equity stratifiers


Place of residence

District Electoral Division.

Data collection methodology

Files imported monthly from Department of Social Protection and self-registration.

Clinical coding scheme

Not in use.

Size of national collection

Approximately 250,000 men and women aged 60-69 years invited annually.
Approximately 500,000 active clients on register.

Publication frequency


Accessing data

Programme Report and data requests.

Open data portal access


Email contact
Telephone contact
Other comments

The Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 has recommended the extension of the programme to all men and women aged between 55 and 74 years.