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Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, affecting around 34,000 people a year. All men and women aged 60 – 75 will be automatically offered a bowel cancer screening test every two years. If bowel cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage, there is a very good chance that the cancer can be cured.

Bowel cancer screening tests can reduce the risk of bowel cancer developing by finding polyps on the inner lining of the bowel. Polyps develop when cells grow too quickly and form a clump known as a bowel polyp or an adenoma. These are usually benign (non-cancerous) but some may contain cancer cells. They may develop into cancer over a number of years. Polyps found during screening can easily be removed.

Research shows that screening with the current test lowers the risk of dying from bowel cancer by around 16%. The bowel cancer screening programme has only been fully up and running since 2010 so it is too early to say exactly how many lives it saves. But experts think that screening will save more than 2000 lives each year by 2025.

Instructions for using the testing kit can be found in English here and information in other formats and languages here.

If you have any worries about bowel cancer screening or bowel cancer, please make an appointment with one of our GPs. They will be happy to discuss any concerns you have.

Breast Screening

The NHS Breast Screening Programme offers free breast screening to all women aged 50 - 70. Annually, the national programme screens just under 2 million women and diagnoses about 14,000 with breast cancer.

The aim of breast screening is to detect breast cancer at an early stage, often before the woman is aware of any problem. Early detection usually means simpler and more successful treatment. Scientific evidence shows that regular breast screening between the ages of 50 - 70 years reduces the death rate from breast cancer. Currently the NHS Breast Screening Programme saves an estimated 1,400 lives each year in England.

The service for our patients is provided by the West London Breast Screening Service, who are based at Charing Cross Hospital. They invite more than 60,000 women for breast screening each year. More information about the Breast Screening Service can be found here.

If you have any worries about breast screening or breast cancer, please make an appointment with one of our GPs. They will be happy to discuss any concerns you have.

Cervical Screening

Cervical Screening is a test to check the health of the cervix, which is the lower part of the womb. For most women these tests find that everything is normal. However for about 1 in 20 women the test will show changes in the cells. Most of these changes will not lead to cancer.

Cervical cancer can often be prevented. The signs that it may develop can be spotted early on, so it can be stopped before it even gets started. Not going for cervical screening is one of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer.

Cancer Research UK estimates that approximately 4,500 lives in England are saved each year by cervical screening.

All women aged 25 – 64 are invited for cervical screening. Women aged 25 – 49 are invited for screening every 3 years, and women aged 50 – 64 are invited every 5 years.

More information about the national cervical screening programme can be found here.

If you have any worries about cervical screening or cervical cancer, please make an appointment with one of our GPs or our Practice Nurse. They will be happy to discuss any concerns you have.

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