There is no national screening programme for brain or spinal cord tumours in the UK. This is because:

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

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.

What to do if you think you are at risk

Talk to your GP if you think you have a higher risk than average of developing a brain tumour. You may be able to have regular check ups if you have certain risk factors. 

It's important to see your GP if you develop symptoms of brain or spinal cord tumours. This is the best way to find brain tumours at the earliest stage, when it's most treatable.

For support and information, you can call the Cancer Research UK information nurses. They can give advice about who can help you and what kind of support is available. Freephone: 0808 800 4040 - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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