In the UK, there are three national cancer screening programmes, which include breast, bowel and cervical screening with the aim of helping to pick up cancer early. While one may wonder why other cancers aren’t being screened, setting up a successful screening programme* is a complex procedure (and not unique to cancer screening) that requires e.g. sufficient evidence that it will actually save lives from the disease without too much risk; unfortunately, there are numerous factors that need to be considered. Of note, the cervical screening programme is slightly different in that the aim is to detect early changes in the cervix that could otherwise increase the risk of developing cervical cancer as opposed to picking up cervical cancer directly.
Whilst in recent years there has been a huge drive by the NHS to increase screening uptake, unfortunately the general trend has been a gradual decline in the uptake for cervical and breast cancer screening; this is in contrast to the more successful bowel cancer screening programme (for a breakdown of the UK data, see here). Engaging in the cancer screening programmes will help to catch potential cancers early and needless to say, cancer prevention is better than requiring cancer treatment.
* A list of screening programmes one would potentially be invited in the UK (including non-cancer screening programmes) can be seen here
Information on the Respective Cancer Screenings
Pink Ribbon – For Breast Cancer Awareness
Dark Blue Ribbon – For Bowel Cancer Awareness
Teal & White Ribbon – For Cervical Cancer Awareness
For eligibility of any of the UK cancer screening programmes, please look here. Of note, the US cancer screening guidelines are slightly different and tend to have an earlier recommended age for screening. That said, there are ongoing discussions to try to lower the age for bowel and breast cancer screening in the UK.
Prostate Cancer Genetic Screening
A new pilot study in June 2020 has recently been conducted in the UK where researchers collected DNA from saliva samples of 307 men to test for more than 130 genetic changes that have been linked with prostate cancer. Given the promising results in being able to stratify risk (over a third of apparently healthy men who were found to have the highest levels of inherited risk were diagnosed with a new prostate cancer), this will now be followed by a larger-scale study that could potentially pave the way for a new prostate cancer screening program (see also Genetic Testing).
Cancer Prevention Research >> Achieving Good Health & Resisting Cancer (n = 1) I Tackling Stress I Tackling Sleep I Tackling Obesity I Tackling Smoking I Tackling Alcohol I Tackling Poor Diet I Tackling the Lack of Exercise I Tackling Sun Exposure I Tackling the Work-Life Balance I Tackling the Fear of Seeing Your Doctor I Cancer Vaccination I Genetic Testing