National Screening Programmes

Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs that could mean a cancer is developing


Cervical Screening

A nurse or doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix with a small brush. They send the sample to a laboratory to be checked for abnormalities. In some cases, samples are also tested for a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV) that increases the risk of cervical cancer. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, the NHS cervical screening programme invites women from ages 25 to 64 for cervical screening. Women aged 25 to 49 are invited every 3 years. After that, women are invited every 5 years until the age of 64.


Cervical Screening Test Result Delay


Breast Screening

Breast cancer screening uses a test called mammography which involves taking X-rays of the breasts. The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites all women aged between 50 and 70 for screening every 3 years. Patients within this age range will be contacted by the NHS Screening Programme



Bowel Screening

In the UK, bowel screening currently uses Faecal Occult Blood Testing, also called FOBT or FOB. This means looking for hidden traces of blood in poo (stool or faeces).  This is done every 2 years. In England, men and women aged between 60 and 74 years old take part. Patients within this age range will be contacted by the NHS Screening Programme

People aged over 74 can request a screening kit by contacting the Bowel Cancer Screening Helpline on 0800 707 60 60


More information available on screening: