Figures from NHS England show that the uptake for offered cancer screening in Southampton is poorer than in some other regions and we are trying to tackle the reason behind why patients may not take this up. There are a few types of screening sent to Southampton residents which we would encourage our patients to participate in.
Women aged between 25 and 64 will routinely be invited to undertake a cervical screening test (known as smear test) at the surgery. This is a very important test which is usually carried out every 3 - 5 years to ensure women are alerted to any changes which may lead to cervical cancer. If you get an invite we would urge that you make an appointment at the surgery to have this carried out. If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the procedure with a nurse then please do make an appointment. If you have private cervical screening which we would be unaware of (for example in a private hospital or abroad) could you please let us know to ensure this is recorded and we can inform NHS England of the result. If you feel you have missed your screening and are unaware of when this may be due then please contact reception whereupon we can look at your records to see when the last one was carried out.
Breast screening is currently offered to women aged 50-70 in England. However, the NHS is in the process of extending the programme as a trial, offering screening to some women aged 47-73.
You will 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 higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer (for more information, go to NHS Choices website and look under breast screening)
If you're over the age of 70, you'll stop receiving screening invitations. However, you're still eligible for screening and can arrange an appointment by contacting your local screening unit. For Southampton residents screening appointments can be discussed by telephoning 023 8120 4959.
Last year, just 56% of the population eligible for screening in Southampton, took up the offer and returned their sample kit for testing.
In the UK, from the age of 60 until your 74th birthday, a bowel screening kit is sent to your home automatically, every two years. You don’t need to have experienced any symptoms of bowel cancer, the test picks up early signs of cancer that may otherwise, go undetected. It is this early diagnosis that has proven to be the life-saving key to bowel cancer treatment.
Treatment for early signs of bowel cancer has been very effective, but there is still a long way to go. With more than 28,000 people in Southampton being eligible for this test, your local NHS is encouraging you to consider the potential benefits of returning your sample sooner, rather than later.
Most people will carry out the test, return their sample in the post and within two weeks, be told that there were no signs detected. It will be another two years before you are asked to carry out the test again.
For others however, the test may find blood in the sample in which case, you will be invited to a local screening centre to talk about your results. This does not mean you definitely have cancer; the bleeding could be caused by a non-cancerous growth or another health problem. You will be offered more tests to find out what is causing the bleeding.
We would again urge our patients to undertake testing as this could save lives. If you did not return the test or have mislaid it and wish to take part then please telephone 023 8082 5070 for more details.