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NHS Screening

(63 Posts)
BlueSky Fri 28-Feb-20 10:47:00

I've reached the age where the NHS screening (Smear, Mammogram and FIT) have stopped or are about to (65-75) but could still be requested by the individual. Would you, should you carry on with these tests? Not really clear about the advantages/disanvantages and whether they would lead to unecessary procedures or still save lives. I guess they are stopped by the NHS at this age mostly for financial reasons?

suziewoozie Fri 28-Feb-20 11:04:29

I’ve carried on with the Breast screening but not the cervical. When I reach 75 I’ll continue with the bowel screening. No it’s not financial - evidence demonstrates that the chances of these cancers developing after a certain age are less. I dropped the cervical because I only have one (faithful) sexual partner. If I were playing the field ( or thought he were😀) I’d have the screening.

There are as you say arguments on both sides. I just read up on it and decided to do what I felt most comfortable with which is all you can do really.

BlueSky Fri 28-Feb-20 12:08:58

Thanks Suzie like you I'm considering carrying on with the breast screening, which I was relieved to have done when it became available on the NHS as my mother died of breast cancer, possibly because it was diagnosed too late. Not sure about the bowel cancer one after 75, will have to read up on it and as you say, make my mind up!

suziewoozie Fri 28-Feb-20 12:13:19

I think it’s a personality thing fundamentally. I know I’d never forgive myself if I developed a cancer I’d refused screening for. I have a friend who won’t be screened for anything ( or even have the flu jab) and if the worst happened to her, I’m sure she’d just shrug her shoulders and say ‘oh well there you go’.

tanith Fri 28-Feb-20 12:14:13

Same here, I carried on requesting a mammogram and will probably continue with the bowel screening when I get to 75, if I’m allowed. I read that if you’ve always had clear cervical tests there really is no need to carry on.

suziewoozie Fri 28-Feb-20 12:17:02

Yes tanith that influenced my cervical decision as well as the sexual partners issue.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 28-Feb-20 12:18:16

I had my last cervical screening last year, to be honest I was surprised to be told it was the last one, I’ve always had clear cervical tests

BlueSky Fri 28-Feb-20 13:04:10

You are quite right Suzie in saying that we would never forgive ourselves if we developed a cancer for which we had refused available screening!

ninathenana Fri 28-Feb-20 13:54:53

I'm 66 and was surprised to get a letter for breast screening appointment next week, I shall attend but as cirvical smears are so problematic for me I won't be asking for that.

AGAA4 Fri 28-Feb-20 15:27:25

When the appointment came for my mammogram, which would have been the last one, I decided not go. My daughters were adamant that I should have the screening so I went and an early breast cancer was found and treated. It scares me to think how much worse it could have been if I had not gone.

Esspee Fri 28-Feb-20 15:36:55

I am happy to have any examination or test available and to have all vaccinations offered, though with you @Suziewoozie regarding cervical smears.
If the NHS made it clear that cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted diseases then we could all make an informed decision as to the necessity of having that done.
@Blue Sky the bowel cancer screening is simply done from home. Why would you not want to do it? Most cancers can be treated if caught early enough.

Hetty58 Fri 28-Feb-20 15:42:44

suziewoozie, I'm just like your friend and never get tested for anything!

BlueSky Fri 28-Feb-20 15:45:17

You are right Esspee I can see that I will carry on doing the FIT test, as you say it's a simple and easy test to do at home, so what's to lose? Thanks everybody for your input, by talking about our experiences hopefully we'll be able to help others as well as ourselves.

Hetty58 Fri 28-Feb-20 15:52:24

Screening doesn't actually save many lives at all. The statistics are often misinterpreted, though:

M0nica Sat 29-Feb-20 09:15:16

I am fortunate to have good health and rarely see a medical professional, So as well as screenings. I ask to be seen by the nurse for an annual blood pressure, blood and urine test.

I have before me the experience of my father, who attended a 'Well Man' clinic at his surgery. In his late 80s they found blood in his urine and found he had bladder cancer in its earliest stage.

He lived another 4 years, living independently to the end. He just had to visit outpatients twice a year to have any patches of cancer that had occurred lasered off. He lived to be 92 and his bladder cancer was still well under control. It was a heart problem that caused his death.

BlueSky Sat 29-Feb-20 09:33:32

Great story M0nica! I was thinking about that, I know they say statistically screening doesn't really saves lives but surely your father 's case is an example.

CrazyGrandma2 Sat 29-Feb-20 09:39:11

BlueSky I believe that your information is incorrect so checked out NHS Breast Screening FAQ and found this:

Why does breast screening stop at 70?

It does not stop at 70.

Although women aged 71 and over are not routinely invited for breast screening, they're encouraged to call their local breast screening unit to request breast screening every 3 years.

My aunt developed breast cancer after the age of 70. Like others have said, I will continue to use the screening services offered.

Sparklefairydust Sat 29-Feb-20 09:41:33

The bowel cancer screening saved my life!

BlueSky Sat 29-Feb-20 09:56:46

Thanks for your replies I meant you won't be recalled after that age but you can still have the test done on request. Which after your input I'll definitely do! I read that the age for the FIT bowel screening is going to be lowered to 50 ( or it has already in some areas?) which is great news for our adult children!

hulahoop Sat 29-Feb-20 09:57:43

I will still have mammogram even though my breast cancer wasn't found by mammogram and I will still do bowel test although I am on list to have colonoscopy in 3years due to cancerous polyp found a few years ago .

Laurensnan Sat 29-Feb-20 10:01:36

15% of new breast cancer diagnoses are after the age of 70 and your risk of getting it never goes with age. Cervical cancer happens too in the elderly. Bowel cancer remains a risk the whole of your life. If the tests are available I'd always have them. My son died from cancer at age 26. His risk of getting cancer was very rare but he was one of the unlucky ones. Same with us all, you never know if you will be that rare statistic for your age. Grab every test you can. Statistics are just that, be it 1 in 10 or 1 in 10,000. Someone has to be that 1 .

BlueSky Sat 29-Feb-20 10:08:51

Oh Laurensnan there are no words. Since being on this forum I'm shocked at how many people seem to have lost children. Big hug. flowers

vickya Sat 29-Feb-20 10:16:23

I had breast cancer and a lump removed at age 64 and have had regular screening since. I had it again a few months ago. I requested it as I am at a higher risk for any cancer. I also sent back the bowl cancer screening test and have had to have coloscopy and gastroscopy in the last 6 months because of stomach problems. Those actually didn't show cancer but did show ulcers, which were treated. I will request a mammogram again in 3 years, if I remember smile

Theoddbird Sat 29-Feb-20 10:28:29

I was told that I couldn't carry on with cervical smear after 65 I would definitely have it again if I could.

Legs55 Sat 29-Feb-20 10:45:45

I refuse to have Breast Screening as I had a Benign Lump removed in 2006 (I had previously been referred to Hospital in 2001). Because of the position & the fact the lump had increased in size I was referred for removal of the lump, I was rushed back into Hospital twice following the operation & had to have a 2nd operation as I was verging on Septicemia (Sepsis). I have signed a disclaimer letter & have been removed from the screening list. (I am 64)

No longer called for Cervical Smear Test & wouldn't request one.

Don't do Bowel Cancer Test at home as I have Ulcerative Proctitis & am screened by the Hospital, no sign of Cancer on my Colonoscopy but I do have non-cancerous polyps as well. I can't see the point of doing the test at home as well although I was told I could do bothconfused, more money wasted by duplication. I was referred for a Colonoscopy after I saw my GP with symptoms which I knew needed investigating.

I believe whether to take part in a screening programme or not is a personal choice. No history of cancer in my family, parents or grandparents.