Screening and early diagnosis
Screening is a way of finding out if people are at higher risk of a health problem, so that early treatment can be offered or information given to help them make informed decisions.
You will only be invited for screening if you are registered with a GP. If you aren’t registered, you can find a local GP on the NHS website.
The NHS has put in place a range of measures to ensure that people can be screened and treated safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population. See this short video from Public Health England which explains the basics of screening.
Diabetic eye screening
Diabetic eye screening is important as it helps to prevent sight loss. If you have diabetes, your eyes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy, see the NHS website, which is caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye (retina). Screening can detect the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision.
Diabetic eye screening uses digital photography and is not covered as part of your normal eye examination with an optician. Screening does not look for other eye conditions and you should continue to visit your optician regularly for an eye examination as well.
You can reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, or help prevent it getting worse, by:
- controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- taking your diabetes medication as prescribed
- attending all your screening appointments
- getting medical advice quickly if you notice any changes to your vision
- maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening (AAA screening)
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening is a way of checking if there's a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy. This bulge or swelling is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm, see information on the NHS website. It can be serious if it's not spotted early because it can get bigger and eventually burst (rupture).
In England, screening for AAAs is offered to men during the year they turn 65. This can help spot a swelling in the aorta early on, when it can be treated. The test involves a quick and painless ultrasound scan to check the size of the aorta.
If you're a man over 65 and have not been screened before, you can ask for a test by contacting your local AAA screening service directly, details can be found on the NHS website.
There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of getting an AAA or help stop one getting bigger which include:
- Stopping smoking - see our Stop smoking pages
- Eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight - see our Healthy eating pages
- Exercise regularly - see our Being active pages
- Cut down on alcohol - see our Alcohol pages
Our Wellbeing advisors can help address these lifestyle issues - visit our Contact us page for details of your local Wellbeing team.
To find out about Cancer screening programmes, visit our Cancer screening page.