Screening tests for cancer and other important conditions
Screening means looking for early signs of disease in people who have no symptoms.
The practice offers screening tests as part of the NHS National Screening Programmes for:
- Cervical cancer (neck of the womb)
- Breast cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (weakness in the main artery)
Cervical cancer is cancer is the sixth most common cancer in Scotland and the most common cancer in women aged 15 to 34. The most effective way to prevent cervical cancer is by attending for regular cervical screening (smear test). This is a simple test, taken by a vaginal examination, which can detect early, pre-cancerous changes in the cervix. The Scottish Cervical Cancer Screening Programme invites women aged between 20 and 60 for screening every three years. For younger women, the HPV vaccination can prevent 70% of cervical cancers. Cervical cancer is largely preventable and, if caught early, survival rates are high. You can book in for your smear with the practice nurse or one of the doctors, if you prefer. You are entitled to a chaperone and if this is not offered, please do ask. The chaperone will be female nurse or doctor, depending on who is available at the time. Results will be posted out to you direct from the health board. It can take up to 6 weeks.
Click for information about what the cervix is
Click for more information about the smear test
Click for leaflets about the smear test
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in UK women. 1 in 8 women in the UK develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The Scottish Breast screening Programme offers women aged 50 to 70 the opportunity for screening by a special X-ray of the breast called a mammogram every 3 years or so. The mammogram helps identify lumps or suspicious changes women aren’t even aware of. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the outlook.
Click for more information about the Scottish Breast Screening Programme
Click for more on the pros and cons of breast screening to help you make the right decision
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland after lung and breast cancer. For men, the lifetime risk of getting bowel cancer is 1 in 18 and for woman 1 in 22. The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme invites all men and women in Scotland between the ages of 50 and 74 for screening every two years. Screening is done by submitting three small samples of stool on a special cardboard card by return of post. We know uptake of this test isn’t good. In Glasgow, only about half of people invited take up the test. We encourage you to consider the information available to you and ask us if there is anything you need to know in order to make a decision about whether to screen or not.
Click on the link for more information about the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme
Prostate cancer screening
The prostate gland is gland involved in sperm production that lies below the bladder in men. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It occurs only rarely in men under 50y. The PSA test is a blood test which measures the level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in the bloodstream. It can give an early indication of prostate cancer. However, there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer
in the UK.This is because it is not a very accurate test. Some men with cencer have a normal PSA test and 2 out of 3 men with a raised PSA test do not have cancer. So if PSA was used as a screening test, some men who did have prostate cancer would be told that they didn’t and 2/3 of men with a raised PSA level would go on to have other test such as a needle biopsy and a rectal ultrasound when they didn’t actually have cancer. These tests can be uncomfortable and many men find them embarrassing. Also many men with prostate cancer have slowly growing cancers that will never cause any symptoms or problems in their lifetime. In other words, they may die with their prostate cancer, not because of it. If the cancer is diagnosed and treated, the treatment itself may cause problems that greatly diminish quality of life, such as impotence. It remains a controversial area. Feel free to discuss any concerns you may have with any of the doctors or practice nurses.
Click here for a helpful leaflet on the benefits and limitations of PSA testing
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening
The aorta is the main artery that supplies blood to your body. It runs from your heart, down through your chest and abdomen (tummy). With age, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and balloon out to form an aneurysm. This swelling is known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or ‘AAA’. We worry about these swellings leaking or bursting over time. It is estimated that 1 in 20 men aged 65 in Scotland has an AAA. Scotland has recently begun a new screening programme for AAA. It is being rolled out nationwide in stages and became active in Greater Glasgow & Clyde in February 2013. You may already have been invited, or even received treatment. By the end of 2013 all men aged 65 will be invited to attend for screening. The screening test is a simple ultrasound examination – rather like pregnant women get as part of their routine antenatal care. The test generally lasts less than 10 minutes and you will be given your result straight away. If you are found to have an AAA, it may be monitored by serial scanning or an operation may be recommended, depending on the size and perceived threat.
Click for more about the Scottish AAA Screening Programme
Click for downloadable leaflets about NHS screening tests, written for patients and carers