BowelScreen (National Bowel Screening Register)

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.


National — men and women aged between 60 and 69 years inclusive.


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

Data content

Client data information; 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 (COR ID). 

Data providers

In order to identify the target population for screening, data is supplied by the Department of Social Protection but people can also self-register their details on the website. 
A third-party contracted laboratory receives completed home test kits in the post. Analysis takes place on the kits and results are transmitted electronically to BowelScreen where the Colorectal system is updated. 

Clinical data is also inputted by clinical personnel in HSE acute hospitals where colonoscopies are performed on behalf of the programme.

Data collection methodology

Files imported monthly from Department of Social Protection.

Data dictionary

Not available

Clinical coding scheme

Not in use

Size of national collection

Approximately 250,000 men and women aged 60–69 years invited annually.

Publication frequency


Accessing data

Programme report and data requests.

Open data portal access


Email contact
Telephone contact
Other comments

The new National Cancer Strategy 2016–2025, due to be published in 2017, will be Ireland’s third National Cancer Strategy which will recommend the extension of the programme to all men and women aged between 55 and 74 years.