Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee
UK National Screening Committee submission of 6 October 2021
PE1863/C: Mandatory annual cancer blood test from the age of 55
The UK National Screening Committee is the independent scientific advisory body who advises Ministers on all matters of population screening and a proposal to consider a single blood test to detect cancers would need to be submitted to the UK NSC for consideration. The UK NSC has not looked at the evidence to screen for cancers using a single blood test.
The UK NSC welcomes new topics for screening via its annual call for topics which runs from September-December each year. Screening programmes in the UK are subject to evaluation, and independent expert advice from the UK National Screening Committee, before they are introduced in order to ensure they do more good than harm, and at a reasonable cost. They are also subject to rigorous control and quality assurance to ensure that they operate strictly within the parameters that will maximise the ratio of benefit to harm.
It is important to note that although screening offers benefits it can also cause harm. It is crucial therefore that the evidential barrier to which screening tests are assessed are kept high, as highlighted by the house of commons science and technology enquiry into health screening (2014).
PE1863/A - Mandatory annual cancer blood test from the age of 55
PE1863/B: Mandatory annual cancer blood test from the age of 55