Check ups & screening for the general public

To detect cancer early there are two things you can do

  1. Have a check-up. See your doctor promptly if you notice any changes.
  2. Attend a screening program if it’s recommended for you.

Check-ups – Why should I have a check up and when?

  • Most cancers can be detected in the early stages, when they’re easier to treat if the symptoms are noticed.
  • It is important for people of all ages to have a check up from your GP when you notice anything unusual or have any concerns. Know what is normal for you so that you can quickly identify when there are changes.

Things to look out for are:

  • Lumps or sores that don’t heal (like an ulcer in your mouth)
  • Coughs or hoarseness that won’t go away
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A mole or skin spot that changes shape, size or colour
  • Changes in your toilet habits

Screening – What is screening and is it for me?

Screening is not recommended for everyone. It involves having a test for cancer when you don’t have any symptoms. It’s a great way of detecting some cancers early, when there’s a much better chance of treatment. It is recommended for specific groups where we know that there is a definite benefit. They are

  • Women 50 -74 years of age should attend mammographic screening for breast cancer every two years:
  • Women 18 -70 years of age should have a Pap test for cancer of the cervix every two years:
  • Men and women 50 years and over should test for bowel cancer using a Bowel cancer testing kit once a year:
  • Individuals who have a mother, father, sister or brother who has had cancer should see their doctor to discuss their individual risk.

What should I do if I am worried about a specific cancer?

If you have any concerns or if you have a family history see your doctor to identify your own risk.