Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition. They can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition.
Several screening programmes are available in Wales to support the detection and treatment:
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The aim of the Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme is to reduce the number of ruptured AAA and deaths in Wales. Men aged 65 are invited to be screened if they are registered as living in Wales. An ultrasound is used to scan the abdomen to look for an AAA.
Women who are pregnant will be offered antenatal screening tests during their pregnancy to check their health and the health of their baby. A midwife will explain the different tests you can have as part of your routine antenatal care. Screening may involve ultrasound scans and blood tests. It is important to decide which tests, if any, are right for you.
Bowel screening aims to find cancer at an early stage when treatment is likely to be more effective. Early detection is key. At least 9 out of 10 people will survive bowel cancer if it’s found and treated early. The test kit is designed to measure how much blood is in your poo and can be completed at home. Once you have sent your test your results will be back with you within two weeks. People aged between 51 and 74, and who are living in Wales are invited to take the test every two years.
Breast screening looks for breast cancer before symptoms show. This involves taking mammograms, which are x-rays of the breast. Women living in Wales, aged from 50 up to 70 are invited for breast screening every 3 years. Women aged 70 and over will not be invited for screening, but can contact Breast Test Wales and ask for an appointment.
Cervical screening can prevent cervical cancer from developing, or pick it up at an early stage. The cervical screening test will look for high-risk types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cell changes on the cervix. Finding cell changes can prevent cervical cancer from developing. Women and people with a cervix aged between 25 and 64 are able to have cervical screening in Wales.
Diabetic Eye Screening looks for diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) before any symptoms show. Diabetic eye disease can lead to permanent sight loss if not found. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, are aged 12 or over, you will be invited for diabetic eye screening.
Newborn bloodspot screening is when a small sample of blood is taken from the baby’s heel, on day five of the baby’s life. This blood sample is screened for rare but serious conditions that can cause serious illness or even death if not treated early.
One or two babies in every 1000 are born with a hearing loss. Most of these babies will be born into families where no-one else has a hearing loss. It is not easy for parents to tell if a young baby has a hearing loss. Finding out early is important for a baby’s development. It also means that support and information can be offered right from the start.