THE TESTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…
For bile duct cancer
Helen Moremont, of the charity AMMF, says if you have symptoms of bile duct cancer that don’t improve, ask your GP to run a liver-function test.
For ovarian cancer
An early ovarian cancer-screening tool is in development. ‘In the meantime, if you have symptoms for longer than a 12-day period, ask your GP for a CA125 blood test,’ says Katherine Taylor of Ovarian Cancer Action. ‘It’s a bio-marker test that’s freely available.’
For cervical cancer
Since the early 1990s, cervical cancer incidence rates have decreased by almost a quarter (23 per cent) in the UK. Women aged 25 to 49 are invited for screening every three years; 50 to 64-yearolds are invited every five years. If you experience bleeding between periods, after sex or following the menopause, or have pain during sex or in your pelvis, see your GP.
For bowel cancer
If bowel cancer is detected early, before symptoms appear, it is easier to treat. The NHS offers two types of bowel-cancer screening. Currently, everybody aged 60 to 74 is sent a hometest kit. There is also a one-off test called bowel scope screening (which takes place at NHS bowel-cancer screening centres), which is gradually being introduced in England for those 55 and over.
Don’t forget the protective basics: ‘Four in 10 cases of cancer can be prevented. So if you’re a smoker, stop; keep a healthy weight; eat well and stay active,’ says Dr Jasmine Just of Cancer Research UK. ‘Help stack the odds in your favour.’ A 2016 study found that over a quarter of women prioritise work over seeing their GP