Bowel Screening Bowel cancer screening involves having tests to check if you have or are at risk of bowel cancer. There are 2 types of test used in NHS bowel cancer screening: bowel scope screening (a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is used to look for and remove any polyps inside your bowel) and home testing kit (the FOB test) (a kit you use to collect small samples of your poo and post them to a laboratory so they can be checked for tiny amounts of blood which could be caused by cancer). If these tests find anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.
NHS bowel cancer screening is offered to people aged 55 or over as this is when you’re more likely to get bowel cancer:
• if you’re 55, you’ll automatically be invited for a one-off bowel scope screening test
• if you’re 60 to 74, you’ll automatically be invited to do a home testing kit every 2 years
• if you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a home testing kit every 2 years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60. For more information, check this NHS page.
Cervical Screening A cervical screening test (also known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer. Cervical screening is a test to check the health of the cervix cells. Most women’s test results show that everything is normal, but for around 1 in 20 women the test shows some abnormal changes. Most of these changes won’t lead to cervical cancer and the cells may go back to normal on their own, but in some cases the abnormal cells need to be removed so they can’t become cancerous.
All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening:
• aged 25 to 49 – every 3 years
• aged 50 to 64 – every 5 years
• over 65 – only women who haven’t been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests
For more information, look at this NHS page.
Breast Screening Women in England aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for screening every 3 years. You’ll first be invited for screening between your 50th and 53rd birthday. You may be eligible for breast cancer screening before the age of 50 if you have a very high risk of developing breast cancer. If you’re over the age of 70, you’ll stop receiving screening invitations. For more information, check this NHS page.
Diabetic Eye Screening This is a key part of diabetes care. People with diabetes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to sight loss if it’s not treated. People with diabetes should also see their optician every two years for a regular eye test.
AAA Screening Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening is a way of checking if there’s a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy. This bulge or swelling is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA. It can be serious if it’s not spotted early on because it could get bigger and eventually burst (rupture). In England, screening for AAA is offered to men during the year they turn 65. For more information, take a look at the NHS website.
If you are over 65 and have not previously been screened you can arrange an appointment directly by calling 0191 445 2554.