Cancer Screening

Information on Breast Screening, Cervical Screening & Bowel Screening.

Nearly half of all cancers in England are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when the chances of survival are reduced. Cancer screening aims to detect early signs of cancer before a patient has any symptoms so that it will hopefully be found at a curable stage.
 
There are currently 3 official UK cancer screening programmes:

Breast screening – Mammograms

 Women age 50-70 will be invited by letter every 3 years when the mobile unit is in WGC.

  • Women over 70 are still entitled to have screening and they may request an appointment (01582 497599).
  • There is currently a pilot study running so some women age 47-50 may receive an appointment too.
  • Any women over 50 who thinks that she may have missed her last mammogram appointment and has not had one within the last 3 years may phone the Breast Screening Service directly on 01582 497599 who will send them an appointment either to attend their centre at Luton or when the mobile unit is in a nearby town.
  • GPs cannot refer directly for mammograms. If any woman of any age is concerned about a breast symptom (even if she has had a mammogram within the last 3 years) then she should book an urgent appt with a doctor.

Cervical screening – Smear Tests

  •  These are offered to women in the age group 25-64 and these women should receive a letter requesting that they book an appointment at the practice.
  • For ages 25-49 it is every 3 years and 50-64 every 5 years.
  • You only need a smear test over 65 if you have not had one since 50.
  • Appointments can be booked with 4 of our nurses Elaine, Lesley, Lucy & Kate in any of their clinics during the day and some evenings and Saturday mornings.
  • If you are not sure if your smear is due please ask the receptionists who can check.
  • A smear can now be effectively taken at any time within your menstrual cycle.
  • If you don’t think that you need a smear test for any reason then please discuss it with a nurse or doctor.
  • If a woman has any unexpected vaginal bleeding then please book an urgent appointment with a doctor.

Bowel Cancer Screening – Faeces/Poo Test & Scope Test

  • This is offered to all men and women age 60-75.
  • You will be sent a self-administered faecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit which asks you to collect one small sample of your faeces/poo and return it in the post. Using this it is possible to detect very small amounts of blood which may be an early sign of bowel cancer.
  • If you don’t recall receiving a kit or think you may have lost it then you can request a new kit by calling the NHS bowel cancer screening programme on (freephone) 0800 707 6060 who will also be happy to advise you how to use the kit.
  • Anyone over 75 can also request a kit by calling this number.
  • A lot of people don't send back their kit. Don't be squeamish about poo, it may save your life!
  • There is also a bowel scope screening programme through which all men and women at age 55 will receive an invitation to have a telescope test to try and find and remove any pre-cancerous polyps
  • If you decide not to have the test straight away, you can have it at any point up to your 60th birthday. Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60 to arrange an appointment
  • If any patient sees any blood in their faeces then please book an urgent appointment to see a doctor.



Following all these tests you will be sent a letter with the results and if there is any abnormality found you will be told what to do next. An abnormal test does not mean that you have cancer but that you may have, so it is important not to ignore this.

If you have any questions about cancer screening then I or any of the doctors at the practice would be happy to discuss it with you and this can be via a telephone consultation.

Dr Anthea Cecil
Cancer Lead
Hall Grove Group Practice