The NHS Breast Screening Programme began in 1988. It aims to invite all women aged 50 – 70 years for breast screening once every three years. Nationally the programme screens over 2 million women each year and diagnoses about 16,500 breast cancers annually.
Women over 70 are still entitled to breast screening every 3 years. However, you have to book your own appointments and will not be called. To book call 0203 7582024.
Our local breast screening service is the North London Breast Screening service
Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina. All women and people with a cervix will be invited by letter between the ages of 25 and 64.
When you will be invited:
|Age||When you’re invited|
|under 25||up to 6 months before you turn 25|
|25 to 49||every 3 years|
|50 to 64||every 5 years|
|65 or older||only if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal|
Please book an appointment with one of our nurses for your cervical screening once you have received an invitation. It can be done at any point in your menstrual cycle as long as you are not bleeding, pregnant or less than 12 weeks postnatal.
Sometimes a smear recall may be earlier than the routine timeline. Smear results can take a few weeks to come back from the Cytology Department and you will receive a copy of the result in the post.
Bowel cancer screening involved 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 is easier to treat.
There are 2 types of test used in NHS bowel 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 FIT or 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)
If these tests find anything unusual, you might be asked to have further tests to confirm or rule out cancer.
When it’s offered
NHS bowel cancer screening is only offered to people aged 55 or over, as this is when you’re more likely to get bowel cancer:
- if you’re 55, you’ll automatically be invited for a one-off bowel scope screening test, if it’s available in your area
- if you’re 60 to 74, you’ll automatically be invited to do a home testing kit every 2 years
- if you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a home testing kit every 2 years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60
If you’re too young for screening but are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, speak to a GP for advice.
Always see a GP if you have symptoms of bowel cancer at any age – do not wait to have a screening test.