Bowel 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.

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 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).

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 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.

Cervical Smear

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 49 - every 3 years
  • aged 50 to 64 - every 5 years
  • over 65 - only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or 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.

You'll receive a letter through the post asking you to make an appointment for a cervical screening test. The letter should contain the details of the place you need to contact for the appointment. Screening is usually carried out by the practice nurse at your GP clinic.

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.

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.

Breast screening is currently offered to women aged 50 to 70 in England. 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.

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.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening (AAA)

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening is a way of checking if there's a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy. This bulge or swelling is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA. It can be serious if it's not spotted early on because it could get bigger and eventually burst (rupture).

In England, screening for AAA is offered to men during the year they turn 65. Men aged 65 or over are most at risk of AAAs. Screening can help spot a swelling in the aorta early on when it can be treated.

Screening for AAA isn't routinely offered to:

  • women
  • men under 65
  • people who've already been treated for an AAA
This is because the risk of an AAA is much smaller in these groups.

If you're a man and you're registered with a GP, you'll get a screening invitation in the post when you're 64 or soon after your 65th birthday. You can then arrange an appointment that suits you. If you're a man over 65 and you haven't been screened before, you can ask for a test by contacting your local AAA screening service directly.

If you're a woman or man under 65 and you think you might have a higher risk of AAA - for example, because a close family member has had one - talk to your GP about the possibility of having a scan to check for an AAA.

Screening for AAA involves a quick and painless ultrasound scan of your tummy. The whole test usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

The technician rubs a clear gel on your tummy and moves a small handheld scanner over your skin - pictures from the scanner are shown on a monitor and the technician will measure how wide your aorta is.

You'll be told your result at the end of the test. If any problem is found, you'll also be a sent letter confirming the result and letting you know what happens next.

Molineux Street NHS Centre

Molineux Street
Byker
Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1SG

08.30 - 18.00pm Mon to Fri
Closed 12.30 - 13.30 on Thur

Appointments and Enquiries 0191 275 5740
Prescriptions 0191 275 5742

Shieldfield Health Centre

Stoddart Street
Shieldfield
Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1AL

08.45 - 17.15 Mon to Fri
Closed each day 12.30- 13.30

Appointments and Enquiries 0191 275 5740
Prescriptions 0191 275 5742

We provide family doctor services to Jesmond, Heaton, Quayside, Shieldfield, Newcastle City Centre, Gosforth, Byker, Walker, St Antony's, Killingworth, Wallsend, Longbenton, Battle Hill

All calls to the practice are recorded for training and monitoring purposes