A major cancer screening overhaul has been launched as part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s renewed drive to improve care and save lives.

Ex national cancer director in the UK, Professor Sir Mike Richards, is to lead an independent review of national screening programmes.

He will recommend how they should be upgraded to ensure they remain world leading and that patients benefit from new technologies and treatments.

Cervical screening is currently offered to women aged 25 to 64, with screening offered every three years for women aged up to 49 and every five years from 50 to 64.

Breast screening is also offered to women aged 50 to 70, with women over 70 able to self-refer for screening, and bowel screening is offered to men and women aged 60 to 74, and another bowel screening test offered to men and women at the age of 55 in some parts of England.

Professor Richards said of the overhaul: “Screening is vital for the NHS to catch cancers earlier and save even more lives.

“I am keen to hear views from as many people as possible about the strengths, challenges and opportunities, all of which will be invaluable in my recommendations for the future”.

He is currently looking for feedback to improve the drive on a number of areas, including future management, delivery and oversight of screening programmes, and how to ensure maximum screening uptake across the country and particularly in vulnerable and minority groups as well as feedback on current and future IT and equipment.

The NHS urges people to remember that early detection of cancer is vital, as while the condition is easier to treat, the plan will hopefully be able to prevent tens of thousands more deaths each year.

The review is expected to be published by summer 2019.