Screening is a way of finding out if people have a higher chance of having a health problem, so that early treatment can be offered or information given to help them make informed decisions.

What is screening?

Screening is a way of identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population.

The aim is to offer screening to the people who are most likely to benefit from it. For example, some screening tests are only offered to newborn babies, while others such as breast screening and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening are only offered to older people.

Screening results

If you get a normal result (a screen negative result) after a screening test, this means you are at low risk of having the condition you were screened for. This does not mean you will never develop the condition in the future, just that you are low risk at the moment.

If you have a higher-risk result (a screen positive result), it means you may have the condition that you’ve been tested for. At this point, you will be offered further tests (called diagnostic tests) to confirm if you have the condition. You can then be offered treatment, advice and support.

Finding out about a problem early can mean that treatment is more effective. However, screening tests are not perfect and they can lead to difficult decisions about having further tests or treatment.

Read more about NHS screening, including the benefits, risks and limitations of screening. –

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Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel Cancer Screening

About 1 in 20 people will get bowel cancer in their life. It affects men and women.

Screening can help detect bowel cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.

How it works

You use a home test kit to do the screening.

If you’re 60 to 74, you’ll be sent a kit every 2 years. The programme is expanding to eventually include those aged 50-59, so currently 56 year olds, and some 58 year olds, are also eligible for screening.

If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years. Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

If you’re younger than 56 and you’re worried because you have a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP.

Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 if you have not been sent a test and you think you need one.

If you are worried about your symptoms

You can read about symptoms of bowel cancer on the NHS website.

If you have symptoms that you are worried about you can request an appointment.

Find out more on the NHS website

Visit the NHS website guide to bowel cancer screening

You can also find information about bowel cancer from:

Cervical Screening (smear test)

Cervical screening (also known as a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina.

It’s not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer.

Who the screening is for

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 should get a letter to invite them for a smear.

If you’ve not been invited and think you’re eligible, please contact the surgery.

How often you need a screening

How often you need screening depends on how old you are.

If you’re:

  • under 25, you’ll be invited up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49, you’ll be invited every 3 years
  • 50 to 64, you’ll be invited every 5 years
  • 65 or older, you’ll only be invited if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.

Getting an appointment

You’ll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment.

The letter will tell you where you can go and how to request an appointment.

If you have not received a screening letter

You can also request an appointment at the surgery if you have not received an invite by letter, or if you lost the letter.

Find out more

Read the guide to cervical screening on the NHS website.