Cancer Screening

What screening programmes are there in the UK?

  • Bowel cancer screening is offered to people starting from the age of 50-60 up to 74 in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland it’s offered to people aged 60-74. In Scotland people aged 50-74 are offered bowel cancer screening.
  • Breast cancer screening is offered to women (including some transgender women), some transgender men and some non-binary people aged 50-70 in the UK.
  • Cervical screening is offered to women, some transgender men and some non-binary people aged 25-64 in the UK.
  • Prostate screening is offered to men aged between 45-80 without any symptoms.

All of our surgeries send out invitations to the eligible age groups listed above.  

If you are not invited, please talk to your GP surgery of call the local breast screening service to ask for an appointment:

New bowel cancer screening campaign for London - RM Partners

Bowel screening aims to find cancer early or to find changes in your bowel that could lead to cancer.

The screening programmes send a bowel cancer testing kit every 2 years to people who can take part. You need to be registered with a GP to receive your screening invitations. The test is called FIT - Faecal Immunochemical Test. It looks for tiny traces of blood. You do the test at home. The kit contains instructions of what to do including a prepaid envelope to send the sample to the hospital.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Your Own Breast Self Exam


Breast screening uses a test called mammography which involves taking x-rays of the breasts. Screening can help to find breast cancers early when they are too small to see or feel. These tiny breast cancers are usually easier to treat than larger ones.

It is important to remember that screening will not prevent you from getting breast cancer but aims to find early breast cancers.

Overall, the breast screening programme finds cancer in around 9 out of every 1,000 women having screening.

Each year more than 2 million women have breast cancer screening in the UK.  The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites all women from the age of 50 to 70 for screening every 3 years. This means that some people may not have their first screening mammogram until they are 52 or 53 years. 

If you are older than 70, you can still have screening every 3 years but you won't automatically be invited. To make an appointment, talk to your GP or your local breast screening unit.

If you are younger than 50, your risk of breast cancer is generally very low. Mammograms are more difficult to read in younger women because their breast tissue is denser. So the patterns on the mammogram don't show up as well. There is little evidence to show that regular mammograms for women below the screening age would reduce deaths from breast cancer. 

Breast screening is also for some trans or non-binary people. Talk to your GP or Gender Identity Clinic about this. 


Update for primary care on cervical screening campaign - PHE Screening


The NHS cervical screening programme invites women aged between 25 and 64 for cervical screening. Cervical screening is also for anyone within this age range who has a cervix, such as trans men and non-binary people.

The screening test aims to pick up changes early that could develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.


Prostate cancer: PSA screening does lower death risk, says review


Prostate Screening - Routinely screening all men to check their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels is a controversial subject in the international medical community. There are several reasons for this.

PSA tests are unreliable and can suggest prostate cancer when no cancer exists (a false-positive result). Most men are now offered an MRI scan before a biopsy to help avoid unnecessary tests, but some men may have invasive, and sometimes painful, biopsies for no reason.

Furthermore, around 1 in 7 of those with normal PSA levels may have prostate cancer (a false-negative result), so many cases may be missed.

The PSA test can find aggressive prostate cancer that needs treatment, but it can also find slow-growing cancer that may never cause symptoms or shorten life. Some men may face difficult decisions about treatment, although this is less likely now that most men are offered an MRI scan before further tests and treatment

Treating prostate cancer in its early stages can be beneficial in some cases, but the side effects of the various treatments are potentially so serious that men may choose to delay treatment until it's absolutely necessary.





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