Cancer Screening Information

Bowel Screening Information

Who is invited 

We offer bowel cancer screening using a home testing kit to everyone in England from the age of 60. We offer screening every 2 years between the ages of 60 and 74. If you are over 74, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by calling a free helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

What does the Test Involve?

We send you an invitation letter and this leaflet. The information is to help you choose whether to take part in screening. Then we send you a faecal immunochemical test, or ‘FIT kit’ for short. It detects blood in your poo (blood you would not notice by eye). We look for blood because polyps and bowel cancers sometimes bleed.

Finding blood doesn’t diagnose bowel cancer but it means you need further tests (usually a bowel examination). Most people’s screening result shows they do not need any further tests. 

Some people will need further tests. If this is the case for you, we will offer you an appointment to talk about having a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy looks at the inside of your bowel. We use colonoscopy to find the source of the blood.

Using the FIT kit

You use the FIT kit in the privacy of your home. It’s a simple way to collect a tiny sample of poo. The kit is a small plastic bottle with a stick attached inside the lid. You use the stick to collect the sample, which you seal into the bottle. There are instructions with each kit. Once used, you post the kit in its prepaid packaging to a laboratory for processing. Using the kit takes just a few minutes and it’s an easy and effective way to screen for early bowel cancer. 

If you’re not sure whether you should use the kit, please call a free helpline on 0800 707 60 60 for advice. For example, if you have had surgery and have an artificial opening that allows poo from the bowel to pass into a bag (a stoma) then you might want to call us.

Bowel Screening Results

You should receive a results letter within 2 weeks of sending in your sample. There are 2 possible results.

Most people (about 98 out of 100) have this result. It means that we did not find any blood in your sample, or only a tiny amount which is within the screening range.
This result does not guarantee that you do not have bowel cancer, or that it will never develop in the future. Being aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer is very important.

We will offer you bowel cancer screening again in 2 years’ time if you are under the age of 75.

About 2 in every 100 people have this result. It means we found an amount of blood in your poo above the screening range. This does not mean that you have cancer, but it does mean we will offer you an appointment to discuss having a colonoscopy. Several

things can cause blood in poo, such as:

Having further tests means we can look for the cause of the blood.

What are the symptoms of Bowel Cancer?

Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

Please remember that these symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer. But if you have any of these symptoms for 3 weeks or more, please speak with your GP.  It is important to do this even if you have recently had bowel
cancer screening and/or a colonoscopy. Bowel cancer screening is not a test for symptoms.

What can I do to reduce my Risk?

Having bowel cancer screening reduces your risk of dying from bowel cancer by at least 25%.*

You can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer by:

Further information can be found at: 


Breast Screening Information

Who is invited? 

All Women aged 50-70 are invited for Breast Screening every 3 years.

What does the test involve? 

Breast screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to check for any signs of cancer- including those that are too small to see or feel. It is done by trained female staff and the whole appointment takes about 15 minutes. X-rays are taken from the side and above the breast. You will need to undress from the waist up so wearing trousers or a skirt is easier than a dress.

What does having a Mammogram feel like?

Having a mammogram can be uncomfortable for a short time but not usually painful.

Breast Screening Results

You will receive a letter with your results within 2 weeks of your appointment. Most women get a normal result.If you are called back for more tests, you may have a breast examination, ultrasound scans and a biopsy (small sample taken with a needle for checking with a microscope).

What are Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

If you have these changes, please book an appointment to see the doctor.

What can I do to reduce my Risk? 

Further information can be found at:


Cervical Screening Information

Why do we test?

Cervical Screening (a smear test) checks the health of cervix (the opening to your womb). It is NOT a test for cancer. It helps prevent cancer. 

Who is invited?

All women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64.

What happens at the appointment? 

During cervical screening a small sample of cells is taken from your cervix for testing.

The test itself should take less than 5 minutes. the whole appointment should take about 10 minutes and is usually done by a female nurse or doctor. 

You may have some spotting or light bleeding after your cervical screening test, this is very common and should go away after a few hours. 

The results

Your cervical screening results are usually sent to you in a letter. Sometimes you may be asked to call your GP to get the results.

Your results letter will explain what was tested for and what your results mean. Sometimes you'll be asked to come back in 3 months to have the test again. This does not mean there is anything wrong, its because the results were unclear. this is sometimes called an inadequate result.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is NOT found in your sample

Most people will not have HPV (An HPV NEGATIVE result).

This means your risk of getting cervical cancer is very low. You do not need any further tests to check for abnormal cervical cells, even if you have had these in the past.

You'll be invited for screening again in 3 or 5 years.

If HPV IS found in your sample

Your results letter will explain what will happen next if HPV is found in your sample (an HPV positive result).

You may need:

There are 2 different kinds of HPV positive result:

  1. HPV Found but NO abnormal cells:
    • You'll be invited for screening in 1 year and again in 2 years if you still have HPV. If you still have HPV after 3 years, you may need to have a colposcopy.
  2. HPV Found with abnormal cells:
    • You'll be asked to have a colposcopy

If you need a colposcopy

A colposcopy is a simple procedure to look at your cervix. It's similar to having cervical screening, but it's done in hospital. You might need a colposcopy if your results show changes to the cells of your cervix. 

Click here to find out more about Colposcopies


Click here for further advice and support