Screening is a way of identifying apparently healthy people who may have an increased risk of a particular condition. The NHS offers a range of screening tests to different sections of the population.
The aim is to offer screening to the people who are most likely to benefit from it. For example, some screening tests are only offered to newborn babies, while other are only offered to older people. An independent expert group called the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises the NHS, in all 4 UK countries, on which screening programmes to offer.
Benefits of screening
Screening can detect a problem early, before you have any symptoms. Finding out about a problem early can mean that treatment is more effective. Also finding out you have a health problem or an increased risk of a health problem can help people make better informed decisions about their health. Screening can reduce the risk of developing a condition or its complications and can save lives.