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Macmillan Cancer Support Services

To access support from Macmillan please click here

Getting a diagnosis

Finding out that you have cancer can be a shock, even if you already suspected it. These days, many people are cured of cancer or are able to live with it for many years. But being diagnosed can still cause different fears and emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

It is important to understand what type of cancer you have. If the cancer is advanced, we have more information to support you.

If you have been diagnosed, there are some common thoughts and concerns you may have:

  • Losing your independence – there are things you can do to prepare for treatment that will help you stay as independent as possible.
  • Family or friends treating you differently – it is important to remember that the people close to you are there to support you.
  • Money worries – there are lots of different options that can help you organise your finances.
  • Work – everyone who is diagnosed with cancer has certain rights in the workplace.
  • Making changes to your lifestyle – after a cancer diagnosis some people want to make changes to their lifestyle.
  • Uncertainty – not knowing what the future holds can be one of the hardest things to deal with when you are diagnosed with cancer.

It is natural to worry about these things and to be upset by them. It is fine to cry and say how you feel. But remember that help is available.

If you need to talk, we'll listen. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm.

Screening Services

Screening can spot cancers even before you have any symptoms.  However, if you have any symptoms at all please don’t wait to be offered a screening appointment. Let your GP know
as soon as possible.


Which cancers are on the list for screening? There are three big screening programmes in the UK at present:

Cervical cancer screening

Bowel cancer screening

Breast cancer screening

It is your choice to be screened …   It could save your life if a cancer is spotted early.  Early detection can sometimes prevent the cancer from developing.  It is not always perfect as there are occasions where a cancer could be missed or the screening result could prove to be a false alarm.

Cervical Screening

How can I get screened?


The timings are different according to age but all women with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 should go for regular screening (unless you have had a total hysterectomy i.e. both your womb and cervix removed).  Under the age of 25 cervical cancer is very rare and after the age of 65 it is very unlikely that you will get cervical cancer.  From 25-49 years you will be invited every 3 years.  From 50-64 you will be invited every 5 years.  If you are 65 and over you will only be invited if one of your last three tests was abnormal.  If you are over 65 and have never been tested you can ask for one.

What will happen at my screening appointment?


A female nurse or doctor will take a small sample of cells from the cervix for testing. This is all explained on the NHS site at: What happens? or on the Cancer Research UK webpage :
Cancer Research UK

When will I get my result?


The nurse or doctor who does your cervical screening will tell you when you can expect your results letter.  The letter will tell you what was tested for and what your results mean.  Sometimes you may be asked to come back in 3 months (the results may have been unclear) and sometimes you may be invited for another test. This will all be explained to you by your health professional.

Bowel Screening

How can I get screened?

Everyone aged 60 to 74, and those people who had their 56th birthday on or after the 14 June 2021 are eligible to be sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. At the moment if
you 57,58 or 59 you will have to wait for the programme to be rolled out further.  If you are 75 or over you can request a screening kit every two years by calling 0800 707 60 60.


How does the screening process work?


You will be sent a testing kit. Once you receive your this kit you simply collect a small sample of poo on a small plastic stick, pop it into the bottle provided and send it away for testing in
the envelope provided.  There is a short video on the test on the Cancer Research UK webpage at: Getting screened for Bowel Cancer

When will I get my result?


The results are usually back within two weeks of you sending off your kit. About two people in every hundred are asked to have further tests. But even if you are asked to have more tests this does not necessarily mean that you have cancer.  For more information on bowel cancer do have a look at these pages:

Screening and early diagnosis

Bowel Cancer UK

NHS Conditions Bowel Screening

Breast Screening

How can I get screened?


You'll automatically get your first invitation for breast screening between the ages of 50 and 53. Then you'll be invited every 3 years until you turn 71.  After the age of 71 you can still request to be screened. In Cornwall contact: The Cornwall Breast Screening Service on 01872 252880 to ask for an appointment.


What will happen at my breast screening appointment?


When you go for a breast screening appointment the mammographer (who will be female) will take X-rays of your breasts (mammograms) to check for signs of cancer.  Regular breast screening is one of the best ways to spot a cancer which is too small to see or to feel.


When will I get my result?


You will usually get your results through the post within two weeks of the breast screening appointment. Your GP will also get a copy of the results.  Sometimes you will be called back for further tests but this does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer but if you do then finding it early means treatment is more likely to be successful.  For more information on breast and cervical cancer do have a look at these web pages:

Breast screening early diagnosis

If you have any queries about screening, please contact the Surgery and let us know.  Someone will be in touch with you to help you with your questions.

Updated November 2021

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