Screening is a way of finding out if people are at higher risk of a health problem, so that early treatment can be offered or information given to help them make informed decisions.
This page gives an overview of screening, with links to the different types of screening offered by the NHS in England.
Source: NHS Choices UK1
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What is screening?
Screening is a way of identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population.
The aim is to offer screening to the people who are most likely to benefit from it. For example, some screening tests are only offered to newborn babies, while others such as breast screening and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening are only offered to older people.
Source: NHS Choices UK2
Introduction: Screening Tests
Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they're easier to treat. You can get some screenings in your doctor's office. Others need special equipment, so you may need to go to a different office or clinic.
Some conditions that doctors commonly screen for include
- Breast cancer and cervical cancer in women
- Colorectal cancer
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight and obesity
- Prostate cancer in men
Which tests you need depends on your age, your sex, your family history, and whether you have risk factors for certain diseases. After a screening test, ask when you will get the results and whom to talk to about them.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)3
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- Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ livewell/ screening/ pages/ screening.aspx
- Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ healthscreening.html
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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.