Worrying figures show low attendance at cancer screenings

Worrying figures show low attendance at cancer screenings

Published at 12:40pm 23rd April 2019. (Updated at 4:29pm 23rd April 2019)

Yorkshire Cancer Research Promoted by
Yorkshire Cancer Research

Yorkshire Cancer Research are emphasising the importance of early diagnosis when fighting cancer after figures show just three of ten people are attending screenings in some areas.

  • Yorkshire Cancer Research are looking to bust the stigma around screenings with some areas showing poor attendance when invited for screenings.
  • Screenings are designed to find cancers early when there are more treatment options available.
  • The charity are encouraging people to attend cervical and breast screenings when invited and complete the bowel screening home testing kit when received.

Along with looking out for signs and symptoms of cancer, screenings are an effective way to find cancer early and at the most treatable stage, but figures show very low attendance in some areas of Yorkshire.

With just three of ten people in some areas of Yorkshire attending, Yorkshire Cancer Research are looking for new ways to encourage people to use the three national screening programmes for cervical, bowel and breast cancer.

Doctor with clipboard
There are three national screening programmes designed to detect signs of cervical, breast and bowel cancers at an early stage

Bowel cancer screening

Bowel screening is done at home using a home testing kit. This is sent to men and women every two years between the ages of 60-74.

The home testing kit requires you to collect a small sample of poo which is then sent to a screening centre to be tested for tiny amounts of blood, which could be a sign of cancer.

Cervical cancer screening

Cervical screening (a smear test) is designed to check the health of the cervix and is not a test for cancer, but rather a test to help prevent it by detecting abnormal cells.

During the screening itself, a small sample of cells are taken from the cervix using a soft brush. The process can be uncomfortable, but should last no longer than 5 minutes.

Women aged 25-64 will be invited to attend via letter, asking you to book an appointment with your doctor or nurse, and are encouraged to do so every three or five years (depending on your age).

The cervical cancer screening is designed to detect abnormal cells before they develop into cancer

Breast cancer screening

Breast screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can detect breast cancers when they're too small to see or feel.

The test involves each breast being X-rayed one at a time. Each breast is placed on the X-ray machine and gently but firmly compressed at different angles to examine the whole breast.

Women aged 50 to 70 are invited to breast screening every 3 years.

Yorkshire Cancer Research, Breast Screening van at the Hydro
Breast cancer screenings involved an X-ray test called a mammogram to detect abnormal cells, with the results sent out no later than two weeks after the appointment

Debbie Brian, the Breast Imaging Services Manager at York Teaching Hospital said:

"Having a breast screening can help us detect a breast cancer very early, which means we can treat you earlier and life expectancy is longer.

"Try and relax and if you're anxious, tell the momographers who will talk you through it. They're there to support you and help you get the best outcome."

You will normally get your screening results within a few weeks. If any abnormal results are found you will be invited for further tests to confirm whether or not you have a cancer.

It’s important to be aware of any changes to your body between screenings. If you’re worried about any potential signs and symptoms of cancer speak to your doctor.

For more information about the different screenings, head to the Yorkshire Cancer Research website or give them a call on 01423 501269.

Ben Groom from Stray FM's Health & Wellbeing Show spoke to Nikki Brady and Leah Holtam from Yorkshire Cancer Research about the screening process:

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