Assessment: Common Screening Tests

In the UK, blood spot screening tests, cervical smear tests, faecal occult blood tests, and mammography are offered as nationwide screening programmes. Your doctor may recommend other tests on the basis of your age, occupation, family or personal medical history, and lifestyle factors. Some tests may be performed by your GP while others may be carried out in hospital clinics or special centres. Screening for eye disease is carried out by your optometrist during routine eye tests.

Screening test Disease When recommended Comments
Blood spot screening tests Phenylketonuria, hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, and sometimes also other conditions Soon after birth Blood sample is taken for analysis from the heel of all newborn babies
Blood pressure measurement Hypertension Every 3–5 years from about the age of 20, or more frequently for those with conditions such as diabetes and/or raised blood pressure Blood pressure is often checked during visits to the doctor. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke
Cervical smear test Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, cancer of the cervix Every 3–5 years from age 20 or 25 to age 60 or 65 The invitations for this test vary depending on where you live
Faecal occult blood Colorectal cancer Every 2 years from age 50 or 60 to age 69 or 74 The invitations for this test vary depending on where you live
Mammography ) Breast cancer Every 3 years from age 50 to age 70 Women aged over 70 may have mammography on request
Eye pressure measurement see Tonometry Glaucoma Every 2 years from age 40 or more frequently and from a younger age if there is a family history of glaucoma Eye tests by an optometrist are free for people over 60 or for those at high risk of glaucoma

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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