If you wonder what the NHS stands for in NHS Cancer Screening and what the entire term is all about, here is some information that can help you out with the same. NHS is an acronym for National Health Service, an organization funded by the government (by taxes) of UK for all its citizens.
The organization offers free healthcare facilities (basic and advanced) for UK citizens. The NHS Cancer Screening facility offers screening facilities for cancer for free. The program is applicable for only certain kinds of cancer, mainly breast, bowel and cervical cancer. The facility runs these programs every year and saves thousands of lives in the process.
Different NHS Cancer Screening Programs
NHS Cancer Screening for Breast Cancer
The program invites women aged between 50 and 70 years for mammograms to detect the presence of lumps, tumors or other suspicious growths in their breasts. The screening is usually done at hospitals or mobile screening units.
The mammograms would offer clear views of the entire breast and some women may need to return for another mammogram in cases where the earlier results were not clear or a suspicious growth is detected.
NHS Cancer Screening for Bowel Cancer
This program is used to detect the presence of cancerous growths in the bowel so that they can be treated quickly and effectively. The screening is usually done for people aged between 50 and 75 years. The screening usually involves an FOB (Faecal Occult Blood) test that needs to be done at home. The individual would have to dab tiny samples of three stools on the mentioned card.
He/she should then post it back to the facility where it would be tested in the lab for bowel cancer. The presence of hidden blood in the samples would usually indicate the possibility of bowel cancer. Test results would be sent via letters and the individual would need to opt for another test if the results of the earlier test are unclear. He/she would need to opt for another test or further tests if the bowel cancer is detected.
NHS Cancer Screening for Cervical Cancer
This program involves inviting women to perform a cervical smear test which would effectively indicate the presence of cancerous cells in and around the cervix. Women aged between 20 and 50 years are usually invited every year for the screening while women aged above 50 are invited once every 5 years. Women attending the screening are urged to refrain from having sex for up to 24 hours before the test.
The screening test for cervical cancer involves inserting a speculum into the vagina to view the cervix and then using a swab to collect some samples. The swab is tested in a laboratory for the presence of cancerous cells in the cervix.
The results of the cervical smear test would be given in writing to the individual in question. A woman may need to attend another screening if the results of the previous test are not clear. She may also need to attend another screening and opt for additional tests like a colposcopy to diagnose the condition.
The Cons of NHS Cancer Screening
Although NHS Cancer Screening can spot tumors early, thereby aiding in the prompt removal of the cancerous cells and possibly saving an individual’s life, there are certain disadvantages to the program that can cause inconveniences to the concerned individuals as well.
Accordingly, NHS cancer screening does not provide 100% reliable results. Individuals would need to opt for multiple screenings if the results of the previous screenings remain unclear. The screenings can also misinterpret non cancerous growths to be tumors and give a false alarm, or ignore potential tumors altogether and give a false reassurance.