SUPPORTING EARLY CANCER DIAGNOSIS

The NHS Long Term Plan sets two bold ambitions for improving cancer outcomes:

  • By 2028, the proportion of cancers diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 will rise to 75 %                 
  • From 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive their cancer for at least five     years after diagnosis.

 
Early diagnosis is the key to our survival efforts – it means an increased range of treatment options, improved long-term survival and improved quality of life. Across the NHS, there are a range of interventions designed to increase the proportion of cancers diagnosed early.
Primary care has an important role to play in these cross-system efforts – improving referral practices for suspected cancer and encouraging uptake of national cancer screening programmes will be key.
 
Cancer Alliances each have a local trajectory for improving early diagnosis rates set through the NHS Long Term Plan planning process and, by delivering the activity set out in these service requirements, Andover Primary Care Network will contribute to their realisation.
 
Achieving 75 per cent early diagnosis will not be easy and cannot be delivered through more of the same. The ambition will only be achieved through dedicated and collaborative efforts right across the health and care sector, including Cancer Alliances, Regional Directors of Public Health, and Regional Directors of Primary Care and Public Health – and each are receiving additional support in their engagement with PCNs.

Breast Screening

Breast screening uses x-rays called mammograms to look for breast cancers when they are too small to be seen or felt. All women between 50 and 70 years old are invited for breast screening every three years. The Breast Screening Service rotates through the Practices in the area on a three-yearly cycle. This means that your first invitation for breast screening will fall between your 49th and 53rd birthday, at a time when your surgery is being screened. From March 2013 the service was extended to all women who fall within the the new national screening age groups of 47 to 49 and 71 to 73. As a result of phasing in only one of the new screening age groups (either age group 47 to 49 or age group 71 to 73) will be invited along with all eligible 50 to 70 year olds. Once women reach the upper age range, they are encouraged to continue routine three-yearly screening and should ring 02381 204959 for an appointment.

Cervical screening is when a sample of cells is taken from the cervix for analysis. A doctor or nurse inserts an instrument (a speculum) to open the woman’s vagina and uses a spatula to sweep around the cervix. Most women consider the procedure to be only mildly uncomfortable.

Cervical Screening

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer. It is a method of preventing cancer by detecting and treating early abnormalities which, if left untreated, could lead to cancer in a woman’s cervix (the neck of the womb).

All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for cervical screening test every three to five years.  The programme is run by Primary Care Support England and they will write to patients directly asking them to contact the surgery when they are due for screening. The result will be sent directly to you and usually within 1-2 weeks.

Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective. The screening test detects tiny amounts of blood, which you cannot normally see, in your bowel motions. You can carry out the test in the privacy of your own home and the kit provides a simple way for you to collect a small sample of a bowel motion. You may think that doing the test sounds a bit embarrassing or unpleasant, but it will only take a few minutes and it is an effective way to detect bowel cancer early.

Bowel Cancer Screening

Screening is offered every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 74. The programme is run by the Southern Hub of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. When you are due for screening, a test kit will be sent out along with step-by-step instructions for completing the test at home and sending the samples to the hub laboratory. The test will then be processed and the results sent back to you within two weeks. People aged 75 or over can request a screening kit by calling the Freephone helpline 0800 707 6060.

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