Screening can reduce your risk of dying from cancer or other health problem by detecting it early, often when there are no symptoms. The following types of screening are offered in Wales:
Cervical screening In Wales, women from the age of 25 are invited for screening every three years and women aged 50-64 are invited every five years. Get your cervical smear test at your local GP surgery or sexual health clinic.If you are unsure where to find these clinics, you can telephone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.
Breast screening Women aged 50-70 are invited for a breast X-ray every three years. Women over the age of 70 can ask for a screening appointment.
Screening is carried out in mobile screening units. The units visit over 100 sites in Wales so that women can be screened close to home, and are accessible to women using wheelchairs. For more information visit www.breasttestwales.wales.nhs.uk, or telephone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47
Bowel screening is currently offered to men and women in Wales aged between 60 and 74 years old. You will be invited to take part every two years. When you are due for screening a test kit will be sent through the post. You will be able to carry out the test at home and in private.
For further information or if you have any concerns about the test contact the NHS Helpline on 0800 294 3370.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening. An AAA is a swelling of the aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. Sometimes the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and stretch to form an aneurysm. When this happens there is a risk that the aorta may split or tear (rupture).
Men aged 65 are invited for a one-off ultrasound screening test. Women are not invited for screening as they are far less likely to have an AAA. There is a high risk of dying from a ruptured AAA so finding an aneurysm early gives the best chance of treatment and survival.
AAA screening is carried out in community clinics. For more information go to www.aaascreening.wales.nhs.uk or speak to your GP.
Regularly checking your own skin is important because finding skin cancer early saves lives. It Most changes to your skin are not cancer, but if you find anything unusual on your skin that doesn’t go away after four to six weeks, or a mole or patch of skin that is changing shape or getting bigger, you should get your doctor to look at them.
You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by:
You can find further information and advice by completing the online assessment tool at www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/spotcancerearly. See also www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk for the mole symptom checker if you are concerned about a mole on your skin.
If you are worried about cancer call the Tenovus cancer support line on 0808 808 1010, or the Cancer Research UK helpline on 0808 800 4040.