Bowel Cancer Screening
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.
All men and women aged 60 to 72 who are registered with a GP in England are automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. It is important to make sure you keep the practice updated with your correct address so your kit is posted to the right place.
If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.
NHS screening kits are not available for people under 60.
How to use the kit
From June 2019, patients will be sent a FIT kit, which will replace the FOB kit.
With the FIT kit, you collect 1 sample of poo in a small plastic sample bottle and post it back to a laboratory for testing.
There are instructions with the kit and you may also use this link - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bowel-cancer-screening-kit-how-to-use/nhs-bowel-cancer-screening-fit-kit-instructions
More information and advice
Call the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 6060 if:
- your kit has not arrived when you expected it
- you have not had your result after 2 weeks from when you sent off your kit
- you want to know more about screening
- you do not want to be invited for bowel cancer screening.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Cervical screening (smear test) is a health test that prevents cervical cancer. It checks for cell changes (abnormal cells) on your cervix caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). It is not a test for cancer.
In the UK, you are automatically invited for cervical screening if you are between the ages of 25-64 and registered as female with a GP surgery.
You are invited:
- every 3 years between age 25 and 49
- every 5 years between age 50 and 64
You may get your first invite up to 6 months before you turn 25. You can book an appointment as soon as you get the invite.
What happens during cervical screening?
Before your appointment
- If you get regular periods, try not to book an appointment when you are bleeding as it can make it harder to get a clear sample of cells. But the most important thing is booking an appointment at a time that works for you.
- Do not use spermicide or lubricant jelly (lube) for 24 hours before the test as they can affect the results.
During your appointment
Your whole visit to the practice should not take longer than 15 minutes, with the test itself taking about 3 minutes.
- Your nurse will explain to you what cervical screening is and check if you have any questions.
- Your nurse will give you a private space, usually behind a curtain, and ask you to undress from the waist down.
- The nurse will ask you to lie back on a bed, usually with your legs bent, feet together and knees apart. Sometimes you may need to change position during the test.
- The nurse will let you know when the test is about to start. Firstly, they gently put a new, clean speculum in to your vagina. A speculum is a plastic cylinder with a round end.
- Once the speculum is inside your vagina, the nurse gently opens it so they can see your cervix.
- The nurse will then use a small, soft brush to quickly take a sample of cells from your cervix. This may feel a little strange, but should not be painful.
- Your sample of cells is put in to a small plastic container (vial) of liquid. The liquid preserves the cells. The sample will then be sent to the laboratory for testing.
- The test is over!
After your appointment
Most people can continue their day as usual after the appointment. You may have some very light bleeding (spotting) for a day after the test.
Tips to make cervical screening better for you
- Ask for a nurse or doctor of a particular gender – for example, a female nurse. If you have a nurse or doctor you trust, check with your GP surgery if they are able to do your test.
- Book a longer or double appointment. If you think you may need more time during or after your test, check if your GP surgery offers it. Be prepared for your GP surgery’s receptionist to ask why you need a longer appointment and remember you do not have to disclose anything.
- Take someone you trust with you. It could be a friend, family member, partner or someone else. They can be in the waiting room or examination room with you to offer support. They may also be able to speak on your behalf about any worries.
- Talk to your nurse or doctor. If it is your first cervical screening, you feel embarrassed or worried, you have had a bad experience before, or you have experienced anything that makes the test hard for you, telling the person doing the test means they can try to give you the right support. If you don’t feel comfortable saying something, try writing it down.
- If you feel comfortable doing so, wear a skirt or dress. You can keep this on during the test, which may help you feel more covered. You do get a paper sheet to cover yourself, but check if you can bring a spare shawl or blanket too.
- Ask for a smaller speculum. Speculums come in different sizes, so if you find the standard size too uncomfortable, you can ask to try another size.
- Ask to lie in a different position. Lying on your back may feel uncomfortable for lots of reasons. You can ask to lie on your left hand side with your knees bent (left lateral position).
- If you have gone through or are going through the menopause, let your doctor or nurse know. As we get older, the opening of the vagina and vaginal walls become smaller and less able to stretch, which can make the test more uncomfortable. You can ask your nurse to give (prescribe) you a vaginal oestrogen cream or pessary, which may help.
More information and support
If you have any questions, please call Jo’s Trust on 0808 802 8000. Alternatively, contact the practice and we will arrange for a Nurse to call or see you to discuss any concerns.
Information provided by: www.jostrust.org.uk
Breast Cancer Screening
Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs that could show that a cancer is developing. Brest 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.
Who has breast screening?
The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites all women aged between 50 and 70 for screening every 3 years. You need to be registered with a GP to receive the invitations.
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, contact the Breast Clinic at King’s Mill Hospital.
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.
Breast screening is also for transgender people.
Having a mammogram
- You will need to take off your clothes from the waist upwards. You might put on a hospital gown.
- You stand close to the x-ray machine. The radiographer will position one breast at a time between 2 flat plates on the machine. The plates press your breast firmly between them for a few moments. You will feel a little pressure and this might be uncomfortable.
- You have two x-rays of each breast: one from the top and one from the side.
After breast screening
You should get your results within 2 weeks.
If the results aren’t clear enough or show abnormal areas, the clinic staff will call you back for more tests. You might need to have the x-rays taken again.
If you are called back
Around 7 out of 100 women (7%) are called back after their first screening test. If this happens, you might feel very worried. But many of these women won't have cancer.
Around 3 out of 100 women (3%) are called back after further screening tests.
If you are called back because your mammogram showed an abnormal area, you might have a magnified mammogram. This can show up particular areas of the breasts more clearly. These mammograms show the borders of any lump or thickened area. They can also show up areas of calcium (calcification).
You might also have an ultrasound scan of the breast or tests to take a sample of cells from the abnormal area.
More information and support
You can talk to your Doctor or Nurse or contact Cancer Research UK Nurses on Freephone 0808 800 4040.
Information provided by: www.cancerresearchuk.org