Regular checks

NHS screening programmes

Why are the screening programmes important?

  • Taking part in an NHS screening programme could save your life.
  • Screening can detect cancers at an early, treatable stage including cancers that might be too small to see/feel.
  • It can be a warning of cancer when there are no symptoms.
  • NHS screening programmes make it easy and accessible.

But not enough people in Brighton and Hove are taking part. If you get an invitation to take part in an
NHS screening programme, do it – it might save your life!

Bowel cancer screening
(poo kit)
  • Every two years, men and women aged 60-74 will receive an invitation for
    screening in the post, followed by a screening kit so you can do the test at home.
  • If you are over 74, you can request screening by contacting the Freephone helpline on 0800 7076060. Screening can also detect polyps, which are not cancers but may develop into cancer.
  • Regular screening can reduce the risk of dying of bowel cancer by 16%.

What does the poo test involve?

The home testing kit is used to collect tiny stool samples on a special card. The card is then sealed in a hygienic freepost envelope and sent to the screening laboratory where it will be checked for traces of blood that may not be visible to the naked eye, but may indicate a problem.

If you have symptoms, are worried about a family history of bowel cancer or are worried about your bowel health in any way, speak to your GP.


Sonia did her bowel screening and her
second one showed an abnormality.

Regular checks bowel
Sonia regular large
Breast screening
  • About 70% of women called for breast screening during 2016 attended.
    But in Brighton and Hove it was a little lower.
  • We estimate that breast screening saves around 1,300 lives a year.
  • As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women who are aged 50-70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years. However, the NHS has extended the programme as a randomised trail, offering screening to some women aged 47-49 & 71-73.
  • In the meantime, if you are worried about breast cancer symptoms, such as a lump or area of thickened tissue in a breast, don’t wait to be offered screening – see your GP.
  • Attend your mammogram when invited – breast cancer can be effectively treated if caught in time.

Individuals aged 50-70, registered as female with a GP will recieve invitation letters and appointments to be screened when the screening program is covering their registered area.

The letter will request that people with breast implants should inform Park Centre for Breast Care in advance. This will allow for an extended appointment time.

Click here for Trans Health Awareness.


Cervical screening
(smear test)

Women aged 25-64 are invited for regular screening of their cervix (smear test) if they are registered with a GP.

  • Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives in England each year.
  • It can detect HPV (human papilloma virus), which is linked to most cases of cervical cancer.

I’m not sexually active - do I still need cervical screening?

The evidence shows that if a patient has never been sexually active then their risk of developing cervical cancer is very low indeed. We don’t say ‘no risk’. Any person who has ever had any sexual contact will have probably have come into contact with HPV which is a cause of cervical cancer so they should accept their invitation for cervical screening.

Click here for Trans Health Awareness.


Jemma cervical large

Jemma, from Brighton, had early
cancerous changes picked up during a cervical screening.

Regular checks cervical
Trans health awareness

Will I still get invited for cancer screening if I am Trans*?

When the NHS is notified that someone is transitioning, steps are taken to amend their registration details on the NHS system. This can involve changing someone's registered gender. It is not necessary for that person to have undergone any medical gender affirmation treatment such as hormone therapy or surgery for this to take place.

Once the system has been updated to show someone's sex as male, it will not be possible to generate cervical screening or breast screening letters to the patient and neither would this be appropriate.

Prior to recording the necessary changes to the system, NHS staff should print a copy of that person's screening record. This should then be sent to the GP explaining that the person will no longer be invited to attend for screening by the screening programme and that the GP should arrange any further tests if appropriate.

The responsibility then lies with the GP to ensure those requiring screening have the opportunity to access it. The GP is responsible for ensuring the results are given to patients and they should put in place a system to allow this.

Should I have breast screening if I am a FtM Male?

If you still have breast tissue then you should attend a screening appointment. If you are registered as a male then you will not be contacted for a screening appointment. Your GP should have safety netting procedures in place but if you think you have not been invited when you should have then please contact your GP.

Should Trans Men have cervical screening tests?

Anyone who has had a total hysterectomy does not need to have cervical screening tests. Confirm whether the cervix was removed by speaking to the medical staff involved.

Anyone who still has a cervix should still attend regular cervical screening.

Am I protected from cervical cancer if I am a Trans Man who doesn't have penetrative sex?

No, anyone with a cervix should follow the same cervical screening guidelines regardless of who they have sex with and what sexual contact they have. You can still come in contact with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and are still at risk of cervical cancer.

Should I attend breast screening if I am a MtF Female?

Long-term hormone therapy can increase your risk of developing breast cancer so it is important that you go for breast screening when you are invited.

If you are a transgender person and would like advice about taking part in NHS Screening programmes, contact the T clinic: www.brightonsexualhealth.com/service/clinic-t/