It's important that the bowel motion you use to collect your sample from has not been in the toilet bowl, as this can affect the result of the test. You can collect the bowel motion in different ways. You can use a clean disposable plastic container, such as a cleaned ice cream tub, or folded toilet paper. Alternatively you can collect it on a sheet of newspaper, which you can place across the toilet pan and secure under the rim of the toilet seat. Make sure the newspaper doesn't touch the water in the toilet.
Once you've collected your bowel motion, use one of the cardboard sticks to take a small piece. Spread it thinly over the first window on the test card. Use the second cardboard stick to collect a sample from a different area of your bowel motion. Spread it thinly over the second window.
Once you've completed both windows, seal the flap on the test card. Wipe the cardboard sticks with toilet paper, wrap them up and throw them away in an outside bin. Don't flush them down the toilet.
The second and third samples are collected in the same way, using the two windows on the test card under flap two and then flap three. All three samples need to be taken from three different bowel motions, but they don't have to be collected from three in a row. It's important that all the samples are collected and the kit returned within 14 days of the first sample. Once you have all three samples, you can send the kit to be tested using the prepaid hygienic envelope.
It's very important that you follow the instructions carefully – particularly paying attention to the diet and drug advice given in the kit.
If you have any questions about the sample collection, or if you need a new test kit to start again, you can call the freephone helpline number, which is printed on the kit instructions.
If you don't return the test kit, you'll get a reminder after about four weeks. If you've decided not to participate in the screening programme, you can either ignore the reminder or contact the helpline number to tell them you won't be sending your kit back.