Breast screening programme
- 47-73 years
- Women are offered a mammogram every 3 years
- After the age of 70 years women may still have mammograms but are 'encouraged to make their own appointments'
Colorectal screening programme
- what used
- screening every 2 years to all men and women aged 60 to 74 years in England, 50 to 74 years in Scotland. Patients aged over 74 years may request screening
- eligible patients are sent Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) tests through the post
- a type of faecal occult blood (FOB) test which uses antibodies that specifically recognise human haemoglobin (Hb) used to detect, and can quantify, the amount of human blood in a single stool sample
- advantages over conventional FOB tests is that it only detects human haemoglobin, as opposed to animal haemoglobin ingested through diet
- only one faecal sample is needed compared to the 2-3 for conventional FOB tests
- whilst a numerical value is generated, this is not reported to the patient or GP, who will instead be informed if the test is normal or abnormal
- patients with abnormal results are offered a colonoscopy
Cervical cancer screening programme
A smear test is offered to all women between the ages of 25-64 years
- 25-49 years: 3-yearly screening
- 50-64 years: 5-yearly screening
- cervical screening cannot be offered to women over 64 (unlike breast screening, where patients can self refer once past screening age)
What about cervical cancer screening in:
- women who have never had sex
- cervical screening in pregnancy is usually delayed until 3 months post-partum unless missed screening or previous abnormal smears
- women who have never been sexually active have very low risk of developing cervical cancer therefore they may wish to opt-out of screening
How is cervical cancer screening programme performed?
There is currently a move away from traditional Papanicolaou (Pap) smears to liquid-based cytology (LBC). Rather than smearing the sample onto a slide the sample is either rinsed into the preservative fluid or the brush head is simply removed into the sample bottle containing the preservative fluid.
Advantages of LBC includes
- reduced rate of inadequate smears
- increased sensitivity and specificity
It is said that the best time to take a cervical smear is around mid-cycle. Whilst there is limited evidence to support this it is still the current advice given out by the NHS.
Screening of aortic aneurysm
Screening for an abdominal aortic aneurysm consists of a single abdominal ultrasound for males aged 65