Screening Tests

Cervical smear: This is performed using liquid based cytology and involves removing cells from the cervix to detect any pre-cancerous cells. A cervical smear can lead to the early detection of cervical changes and the prevention of cancer through colposcopy and appropriate treatment.

HPV (human papilloma virus) testing can also be done on the same sample. HPV can cause genital warts and high risk types may lead to pre-cancerous changes of the cervix and cervical cancer. Most women infected with HPV will clear the virus but in 5-10% of women in whom the virus persists, there is a high risk of developing pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix which can progress to cancer.

Mammography: In the UK screening is performed in women starting from the age of 50. Mammography can be performed at an earlier age and is performed from the age of 40 in the USA. The requirement to perform mammography earlier than aged 50 will depend on an individual basis.

Faecal Occult Blood Test: Can be used in the diagnosis of colo-rectal cancer. A 3 day stool collection is required for this test.

Other screening tests:
Gynaecological Pelvic Ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound can be used to assess the pelvis for abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, adenomyosis and ovarian and para-ovarian cysts.

Bone Densitometry: Osteoporosis usually affect s women in their post menopausal years although some women can be predisposed to developing bone loss at an earlier age. A bone scan (most commonly of the hip and spine) can be performed to look at bone density and can detect the presence of mild to moderate bone loss (osteopenia) or severe bone loss (osteoporosis).