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Primary & Secondary Lymphoedema Online & in the Community

Cervical Cancer

Author: Gaynor Leech, Founder of L-W-O

 

Cervical Cancer Screening

 

I am one that does not need a lot of persuading on the matter of screening because my mammogram saved my life and caught my breast cancer at stage two.  This meant our amazing NHS moved swiftly to see that I was treated quickly and efficiently, and I am now eight years clear.

Approximately two years ago I attended a training event to become a Cancer Champion, the idea being that, those of us that attended would promote cancer screening programmes.   We would encourage our family, friends and anyone else we might engage in conversation to go for screening.  My understanding is, that those who attended the courses, especially the Health Care Professionals (HCP’s) from GP surgeries, becoming a Cancer Champion was successful.  However, for those of us who attended that were non-medical but have a great deal of interest in health-care there was no follow through and no support afterwards.  Because I do what I do as Founder of L-W-O for me it’s a no brainer and I will always attend any screening I am offered and I will happily promote the importance of screening across L-W-O platforms.

The 14/15 January 2019 I was invited by  to a Cervical Screen Event in Coventry and Nuneaton. The purpose of these meetings:

  • Share facts about cervical cancer
  • Explain the role of Cervical Screening in detecting cervical cancer and in saving lives
  • Findings of research: Why do some women not attend for screening?
  • Discuss how we might help in sharing information about the importance of screening with other women and their families

Coventry and Warwickshire have one of the lowest up takes for Cervical screening in the Country as the following chart shows:

 

The discussion then centred around why women are reluctant to go for cervical screening:

  • Assumption of low risk because of low number of sexual partners
  • Fear of cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Feeling shame or embarrassment
  • Other priorities
  • BME women sometimes fear poor clinic hygiene will lead to infections

Discussing the HPV Vaccination (Human Papilloma Virus) that was introduced for girls in 2008 and is offered to all girls ages 12 – 13 years there are two injections, 6 months to two years apart.  I think it is better if I signpost you to the NHS website for further details:   https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine/

The HPV vaccination for boys will be rolled out in 2020 for further details please go to the NHS website:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine/#hpv-vaccination-for-men-and-boys

There are several reasons why women will not go for their smear tests they maybe body conscious, scared or feeling vulnerable and a feeling that they are not in control.

Therefore, I was thrilled to hear that many of the HCP’s present, where talking about the 'out of hours services' available to women across Coventry & Warwickshire, this included opening some surgeries seven days a week.  One surgery was more than happy to open at seven in the morning so that women who had made an appointment could attend before going to work.  It was felt that some women were happy to do this because they were freshly showered and dressed for the day.  However, all the HCP’s present stated that, when screening takes place, they are too busy doing the test to be concerned on how someone might look.  Reassurance here is key and if you are worried please speak to your HCP but don’t let it prevent you from having your smear test.

For further information check out Jo’s Trust their vision is  “A future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past”.  https://www.jostrust.org.uk/

 

The two sessions I attended were informative and I was thrilled that L-W-O was invited to attend with our information stand.  I understand that these sessions are aimed at prevention which, I totally agree with.  However, I asked two years ago on the Cancer Champions course and I asked again this time when will we get sessions or training events on living with cancer or for dealing with the side effects of Medication or LYMPHOEDEMA?

All the information written in this blog provided from the organisations pictured above.  Information is written in good faith, thoughts and interpretations are the authors.

 

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