This article will briefly outline the important preventative screening tests available to women aged 40-60.
It can be difficult to make time for your regular check-ups with your doctor, especially when life is busy. Do not let this happen to you! You can take control of your health and get proactive checks from the NHS.
What is screening?
Screening tests can help you determine if your risk factors are high for a specific health condition. Screening can also identify a condition before symptoms appear. Screening can be used to detect a variety of health conditions, including those that develop during menopause. However, the three most important screening tests are breast screening, cervical screening and bowel screening.
You should note that being invited to a screening test doesn't mean you have a medical condition. It is a preventative measure.
Screening tests can help you keep an eye on your health, provide peace of mind, and keep you informed. These tests can help you detect problems earlier, so you can act sooner.
Important screening types for you:
- Breast screening
All women between the ages of 50 and 70 in the UK are eligible for breast screening. This is done to detect early signs of breast cancer in women who are transitioning into menopause. Today, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast carcinoma in their lifetime. Early detection is possible by screening. Your chances of recovery are greater if you get treatment early. It's a good idea if you are invited to breast screening by NHS.
You can also do basic checks at home - we encourage you to do this.
- You should be looking for changes in the skin texture. These could include rashes, dimpling, or any other signs that your skin texture is changing. You should also be aware of any swelling in your chest or armpit.
- Anything unusual? You should be aware of any unusual sensations, such as bumps or constant, unannounced pain in your breasts and armpits.
- If you find anything unusual, speak to your doctor.
2. Screening for cervical cancer
Women between 25 and 63 years old in the UK can have their cervical screening done. This test is used to detect any abnormal cells in your cervical cervix.
Once you turn 25, it is common to receive a letter inviting you to take the test. A screening test is required for women between the ages of 25 and 49. Every 5 years, women between 50 and 64 years old are invited to take a screening test.
Women who have had a total or partial hysterectomy, which involves removing the entire cervix and all of the womb, are exempt from this rule. Screening will not be open to you.
It is sensible to take up screening whenever it is offered. If abnormal cervical cells are detected early, they can be removed and other problems avoided. A smear is necessary for all women suffering from dryness. To make the experience more comfortable, you can use vaginal treatment in a short-term for two weeks. The cream should not be used the night before the test.
Your results will typically be sent via letter explaining how to proceed.
3. Bowel cancer screening
Two types of bowel-cancer screening tests are currently available:
- Home bowel screening test for people over 60 This test is used to detect blood in your stool. You can choose between the FOB and FIT test kits. Both require stool samples to be taken and results can take up to 2 weeks. This test is not intended to diagnose bowel cancer. However, it will determine if further testing is necessary.
- The new Bowel Scope Screening test is for 55-year-olds. This is used to detect and possibly remove small growths in your bowels. It is a relatively new test so if you have any questions, speak to your GP. You might also want to take a look at the NHS Website for more information.
It is important that you remember that these screening tests are not a test for cancer - they are there to help prevent cancer. Never underestimate the benefits of staying on top of your health.
4. Check the NHS 40+
Although it is not about cancer, the NHS offers another important opportunity for health screening. The NHS health check identifies if you are at high risk for certain conditions, such as:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Stones
Preventative advice will be provided on how to lower your risk of developing dementia.
This is a great opportunity to take some measurements and perform tests. Your height, weight and blood pressure will be measured by a doctor or nurse. High blood pressure is important to monitor and maintain as it can have a significant impact on your health. Patients are encouraged to monitor their blood pressure at home. A blood test can be performed to determine your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, or diabetes.
You'll also receive advice about nutrition and exercise as part of your NHS health check. You will be provided with support if you're overweight. If you smoke, you will be offered support to quit.