I got my first NHS bowel screening kit last year, when I was 60. My first thought was “OMG, am I really that old?”

But I got on and did it a few days later. I believe if professionals working in healthcare have decided there is sufficient evidence to support health screening, vaccines, blood pressure checks and so on, it would be foolish not to take part. If I do have a particular health condition, early diagnosis and treatment will be beneficial to my family. 

I am not going to lie: the thought of collecting and sampling my own poo was horrible. However, the instructions in the sample kit were clear, the process of taking the sample was mercifully quick, and the bottling/packaging/posting was a breeze. 

Within a couple of weeks I received confirmation there were no abnormalities. Happy days! 

On a more serious note, at the time of writing, it seems the entire country is mourning the passing of health campaigner Dame Deborah James who has died at the age of 40 from bowel cancer. It was her tireless campaign to encourage people to check their poo that inspired me to support this campaign.  

Like her, my advice would be to look for the humour in this process and maybe think like a child. Young children love stories about poo and think it is incredibly funny.

So, while collecting and sampling your own poo is never going to be the most pleasant thing you do in a day, don’t give the process too much thought. It is not invasive, it doesn’t hurt and it is actually very quick. So, when you get an NHS bowel screening kit, use it. After all, it’s only poo.