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Are you benefiting from the free cancer screening available in France?

We look at France's screening and testing services and how to access them

Adults aged 50-74 will receive a letter from Assurance Maladie inviting them to order a free bowel cancer test online Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

In France, there are routine screening campaigns for four of the most common types of cancer. 

These are offered free to certain age groups.

Breast cancer (cancer du sein)

Those aged between 50 and 74 should receive a letter offering a free screening. 

Pick from a list of radiologists on the list or choose your own. 

The screening consists of a clinical examination, followed by a mammogram. If you are aged 74 or over, free screening is offered only after consultation with your GP.

Bowel cancer (cancer colorectal)

Every two years, eligible adults aged 50-74 will receive a letter from the national health organisation Assurance Maladie inviting them to order a free test online. 

The test comes with detailed instructions and looks for blood hidden in the faeces. If detected, a colonoscopy will be scheduled.

Cervical cancer (cancer du col de l’utérus)

A free smear test (frottis vaginal) is available for women every three years between the ages of 25 and 29, after two normal tests one year apart. 

They are offered every five years between the ages of 30 and 65.

Prostate cancer (cancer de la prostate)

There is no national prostate cancer screening programme for men in France. Your GP might recommend it if you are over 50. 

They will begin with a rectal examination and then refer you for a blood test to measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) produced by the cells in the prostate gland.

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