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NHS Health Screening

Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition.


What exactly is screening?

• Screening looks for early signs of disease or a condition in adults and children who do not have symptoms.

• Finding a condition early gives you the best chance of early treatment and survival.

• You may feel well even if you have early signs of a condition.

• No screening test is 100% accurate and some conditions may be missed. 

• Taking part in screening is your choice. It is important that you understand the benefits and risks of screening before you give your permission to take part. If you need help to understand the information you have been given, contact your local screening


Patients can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition.
Public Health Wales delivers the following population based national screening programmes across Wales:

The aim of the Wales abdominal aortic aneurysm screening programme is to reduce the number of ruptured AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) and deaths in Wales.

Men aged 65 years old men who live in Wales and who are registered with a GP practice are invited to take part in this one-off screening programme involving a simple and painless ultrasound scan to measure the abdominal aorta.

Men are six times more likely to have an AAA than women and becomes increasingly common with age. This is a free NHS screening test.

More information about this programme can be found here. 

Breast screening looks for breast cancer before symptoms show. This involves taking mammograms, which are x-rays of the breast. At least two mammograms of each breast are taken.

Mammograms are the most efficient way of detecting breast cancer early. However they will not pick up all breast cancer.  The reason is that some cancers are very difficult to see on mammograms and are not always seen by the person reading the mammogram and some cancers cannot be seen at all.

Women at increased risk of breast cancer because of a family history may benefit from screening at an earlier age.

More information about this programme can be found here. 

Bowel Screening Wales is responsible for the NHS bowel screening programme in Wales.

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. Men and women aged between 60 and 74, and who are living in Wales are invited to take the test every two years.

Find out more about this programme here. 

Cervical Screening can pick up cell changes and, if needed, these changes can be treated to prevent a cancer developing. If you are aged 25 to 64 and you have a cervix, you can have cervical screening. 

Screening is a test for cell changes that could lead to cancer if left untreated. Screening is not a test for cancer, but sometimes the test does pick up early cancers. Cervical cancers found early are easier to treat.

Cervical Screening Wales is responsible for the NHS cervical screening programme in Wales, including sending invitations.  We get your details from your doctor's list, so it is important that your doctor has your correct name and address.

Find out more about Cervical Screening here. 


Diabetic eye screening is a test to check for eye problems caused by diabetes. Eye problems caused by diabetes are called Diabetic Retinopathy. This can lead to sight loss if it's not found early.

The eye screening test can find problems before they affect your sight. Pictures are taken of the back of your eyes to check for any changes.

If you have diabetes and you're aged 12 or over, you'll get a letter asking you to have your eyes checked every one to two years depending on your risk of diabetic eye disease.

Find out more about this programme here.