Increasing Cancer Screening Uptake

There are three national cancer screening programmes in England: breast, bowel, and cervical screening.

Despite the fact that bowel and cervical screening coverage in West Yorkshire and Harrogate is above the England average, it is below the national average for breast screening, and coverage for the breast and cervical screening programmes falls below the national targets.

There is wide variation in screening uptake and coverage between different regions in England, and also across the local places which make up West Yorkshire and Harrogate. We know that uptake of cancer screening is lower in certain populations - for example, people living with physical and/or learning disabilities, trans and gender diverse people, people living in more deprived areas, people living with mental health issues and/or severe mental illness and some Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups.

The Healthy Communities programme works with stakeholders to target these ‘low-uptake’ groups, firstly by understanding the barriers to accessing cancer screening, and subsequently using evidence-based and ‘good practice’ interventions to overcome these barriers where possible.

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More information about cancer screening:

Who is eligible for which screening programme? What happens? What are the benefits of screening?

Cervical screening: Visit the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Jo's Trust websites, including up-to-date changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jo's Trust has produced a video explaining what to expect at your GP practice if you are invited for cervical screening. View the video here

Bowel screening: CRUK website, including information about both tests for blood in your poo, and the bowel scope screening. Also see the Macmillan website

Breast screening: CRUK website and Macmillan which includes a link to an eBook.

Information about cancer screening if you…:

Have experienced trauma and/or mental illness: short cervical screening video and leaflet from Jo’s Trust

Are trans, non-binary and/or gender diverse: information on what screening you are eligible for from CRUK

Are from a BAME group: cervical screening video here

Accessible information about cancer screening:

  • Sound clips and videos about cancer and screening from Easy Health website.
  • Photostories for breast, bowel, and cervical cancer. These are also useful for non-English speakers.
  • Short films about breast screening are at the bottom of this page, and short films for bowel screening are here and cervical screening here.
  • Videos using British Sign Language about cancer screening from Public Health Scotland.




  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance has collaborated with colleagues in the wider WYH Health and Care Partnership to produce a two-page Top Tips document on how best to support people with learning disabilities with cancer-related issues. It includes links to useful resources for staff and patients, as well as advice on screening and health inequalities faced by patients with learning disabilities. Click here to view the document
  • Click here for the new Easy Read FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) bowel screening leaflet. It explains the FIT screening process and how to complete the FIT kit. This was produced by local accessible media organisation,  BTM, with help from the regional Bowel Screening Hub. 



Resources for professionals wanting to improve screening uptake:

Resources for primary care:

Healthy Communities Gateway C.png 

 GatewayC is an online education platform containing courses   and symptom maps which are focused on early diagnosis of   cancers that are free to all healthcare professionals working   in primary care. The courses are accreddited by the Royal   College of General Practitioners, are worth Continuing   Professional Development points, and have been proven in   pilots to increase healthcare worker confidence in diagnosis,   high quality referral of patients who could have early signs   and symptoms of cancer and ability to follow NICE guidance. 


Quick Wins For Early Diagnosis and Improving Uptake Of Screening in Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Good Practice Guide for Cervical Screening from CRUK.

GP Good Practice Guide for Bowel Screening from CRUK.

Good Practice Guide for Bowel, Breast & Cervical Screening in Primary Care from PHE and NHSE.

Healthy Communities screening resources.jpgEvidence-based and good practice interventions to increase screening uptake (please contact for further information) 

  • ‘Call for a Kit’ Clinics for bowel screening.
  • ‘No Obligation’ Clinics for cervical screening.
  • Cancer screening champions providing telephone follow-up to breast, bowel and cervical non-responders. They have been shown to be effective in BAME groups too.
  • Third reminder texts to patients (including in their first language) for breast and cervical screening.
  • GP endorsement letters for breast, bowel and cervical screening programmes.