Screening for anal cancer

There isn’t a national screening programme for anal cancer in the UK.

What is screening?

Screening means testing people for early stages of a disease. This is before they have any symptoms. For screening to be useful the tests:

  • need to be reliable at picking up cancers
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part
  • must be something that people are willing to do

Screening tests are not perfect and have some risks. The screening programme should also be good value for money for the NHS.

No screening available

There is no national screening programme because:

  • this condition is very rare, so many people would have unnecessary tests
  • the benefits don't outweigh the costs

What to do if you think you're at risk

Talk to your GP if you think you might be at higher than average risk of developing anal cancer. For example, if you have a medical condition that increases your risk.