The aim of screening is to reduce mortality from cancer. This is done by preventing cancer from developing, or detecting it early, making a cure more likely. Often it is a balance between the risk of over diagnosis against the benefits of earlier intervention. The NHS currently screens for breast, cervical and bowel cancers. About 30% of breast cancers, 10% of bowel cancers and a high percentage of cervical cancers are detected by screening.
There are constant improvements to screening techniques, many of them called for and identified by cancer charities. As a cancer prevention organisation, CancerWatch focuses specifically on demanding that greater information on cancer prevention should be included in the mail-out calls for screening. The cost of this would be very cheap, and information and awareness saves lives. Elementary information is currently offered with some screening, but we believe it is not sufficient for its purpose.
Most of our advocacy with regard to screening is carried out at professional level where we try to get our voice heard among the relevant NHS officials. But we also try to raise awareness with other organisations that the individual calls for cancer screening can be used in their own right for raising awareness on how to prevent these dreaded diseases.