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Colon Screening

Bowel cancer screening involves having tests to check if you have or are at risk of bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is a common type of cancer in both men and women. About 1 in 20 people will get it during their lifetime.

Screening can help detect bowel cancer at an early stage, when it's easier to treat. It can also be used to help check for and remove small growths in the bowel called polyps, which can turn into cancer over time.

Types of screening

There are 2 types of test used in Colon cancer screening:

  • Bowel scope screening - a test where a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end is used to look for and remove any polyps inside your bowel.

  • 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).

When will I be offered Colon Screening?
Colon cancer screening is only offered to people aged 50 or over, as this is when you're more likely to get Colon cancer:​


  • If you're 50 to 74, you'll automatically be invited to do a home testing kit every 2 years.


If you're too young for screening but are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, speak to your GP for advice. Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bower cancer at any age - don't wait to have a screening test.

If these tests find anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.

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Cervical  Screening

A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina.

Cervical screening isn't a test for cancer, it's a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix.

All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening:

  • aged 25 to 69- every 3 years

  • over 70 - those who have recently had abnormal tests


It's possible for women of all ages to develop cervical cancer, although the condition mainly affects sexually active women aged 30 to 45. The condition is very rare in women under 25.

Booking your appointment

You'll receive a letter through the post asking you to make an appointment for a cervical screening test or patient can make appointment themselves if due

What happens when you go for cervical screening?

The cervical screening test usually takes around 5 minutes to carry out. The doctor or nurse will gently put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. This holds the walls of the vagina open so the cervix can be seen. A small soft brush will be used to gently collect some cells from the surface of your cervix.

The cell sample is then sent off to a laboratory for analysis and you should receive the result within 2 weeks.

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Breast Screening (Mammograms)

Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they're too small to see or feel. As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every 3 years. If you're worried about breast cancer symptoms, such as a lump or area of thickened tissue in a breast, or you notice that your breasts look or feel different from what's normal for you, don't wait to be offered screening - see your GP.

Types of screening

Breast screening is currently offered to women aged 50 to 70 in Canada. You'll first be invited for screening between your 50th and 53rd birthday, although in some areas you'll be invited from the age of 47 as part of the trial extension of the programme.

You may be eligible for breast 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. You can still have screening after 70 if you want to, and can arrange an appointment by contacting your local screening unit or GP.

When will I be offered Bowel Screening?

Breast screening involves having an X-ray (mammogram) at a special clinic or mobile breast screening unit. This is done by a female health practitioner. Your breasts will be X-rayed one at a time. The breast is placed on the X-ray machine and gently but firmly compressed with a clear plate. Two X-rays are taken of each breast at different angles.

After your breasts have been X-rayed, the mammogram will be checked for any abnormalities. The results of the mammogram will be sent to you and your GP no later than 2 weeks after your appointment.














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