Cancer Screening

What is breast screening?

Breast screening is a method of detecting breast cancer at an early stage. The first step involves an x-ray of each breast - a mammogram. The mammogram can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers which are too small to be felt either by the woman herself or by a doctor.

The stage at which a woman has breast cancer diagnosed greatly influences her survival chances. In general, the earlier the detection, the greater the chance of survival.

At what age are women invited for breast screening?

Women between the ages of 50 and 70 will be routinely invited once every 3 years. Women over 70 can still access breast screening once every 3 years but need to make their own appointment by calling: 020 8951 4045 or visiting the North London Breast Screening Service (NLBSS) website (external link) who provide breast screening in Haringey. Screening is organised according to your GP practice.

What breast changes women should report to their GPs?

All women need to know how their normal breasts look and feel so that they can report any changes early to their GP. To find out more about what changes women should look for get a copy of the ‘Be Breast Aware’ leaflet (available in 19 languages - external link).

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What is cervical screening?

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It is a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating early abnormalities which, if left untreated, could lead to cancer in a woman's cervix (the neck of the womb).

At what age are women invited for cervical screening?

All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for a free cervical screening test every 3 to 5 years.

Cervical Screening Services in Haringey

Eligible women receive a letter in the post from their GP practice inviting them to make an appointment for cervical screening.

If you are not registered with a GP find your nearest GP by using the NHS online GP search (external link) or call NHS England on: 0300 311 22 33 who will help you find and register with a local GP.

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What is bowel cancer screening?

The aim of bowel cancer screening is to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective.

Bowel cancer screening can also detect polyps. These are not cancers, but may develop into cancers over time. They can easily be removed, reducing the risk of bowel cancer developing.

Who is eligible for bowel cancer screening?

Everyone aged 60 to 74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. The programme includes 56-year-olds.

If you are 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

How is screening conducted?

Men and women invited for screening will receive an invitation letter explaining the programme and an information leaflet entitled bowel cancer screening - the facts. The leaflet outlines the benefits and limitations of screening along with an explanation about what your test results mean and what happens next.

About a week later, a test kit will be sent out along with step-by-step instructions for completing the test at home and sending the samples to the laboratory. The test will then be processed and the results sent within 2 weeks.

Further information on the bowel screening testing programme can be found on the NHS Bowel cancer information pages (external link).

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Local activities to promote cancer screening in Haringey

We are keen to promote all 3 national screening programmes to our local communities. Activities and engagement events in Haringey to promote and improve participation rates in cancer screening include the following:

  • A programme of work funded by the North Central London (NCL) Cancer Alliance to encourage participation in cervical screening in communities in Haringey with a focus on women from the Black African and Black Caribbean groups. This was led by Embrace UK and The Bridge Renewal Trust. Focus groups were held during 2021
  • A Cancer Inequalities Project, being led by The Bridge Renewal Trust during 2022 to improve the uptake of breast screening and cervical screening in some of Haringey’s most diverse wards, focusing on Eastern European groups
  • A programme of work funded by the NCL Cancer Alliance to improve levels of bowel screening uptake at GP practice level where rates are currently below the Haringey average. Patients at these practices were contacted to raise awareness of bowel screening programmes and to understand the barriers to attending a screening

If you would like to discuss any ideas regarding promotion within your community please contact:

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Page last updated:

June 27, 2022