I Need Information

Video courtesy of MacMillan Cancer Support.

Cancer is the name given to a very large group of diseases that all show one common characteristic – the excessive or unregulated growth of cells.  The growth of healthy, normal cells is under very strict control but in cancer these controls fail to work and the cells start to grow and behave abnormally.

Video courtesy of MacMillan Cancer Support (UK)

Video courtesy of MacMillan Cancer Support (UK)

Our Board of Trustee Member & Oncology Nurse Lizzy Kilkenny shares some useful information and answers the common questions below.

What is Cervical Screening?
Cervical Screening tests women for changes in the cells of the cervix. Its aim is to detect early cell changes, this is the really important point as cervical cancer takes 7-12 years to develop in most cases.
It’s important to note that it is not a test for Cancer. It’s a test to check for abnormalities in the cells of the cervix which may lead to Cancer.

Who needs a smear Test?
Woman aged between 25-60 who are or who have been sexually active.

What is the HPV Virus?
The HPV virus is a really common virus that effects over 80% of sexually active adults. It is spread directly through skin to skin contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Most people have no symptoms whatsoever. The virus is usually transient & is cleared by the body’s own immune system however, certain strains particularly strains 16 & 18 are directly linked to over 70% of cervical cancers.
80% of women will have the virus at some in their life, mainly in late teens & early 20’s. Smoking reduces the body’s ability to clear the virus so it’s very important to stop smoking.

Cervical Cancer can be prevented through regular test & early detection of pre-cancerous changes.

Ireland has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in Western Europe.
90 deaths on average per annum
Over 280- (mainly young) need treatment i.e: chemotherapy and or radiotherapy
Over 6,500 women each year-require hospital treat for per-cancerous cells.

What is the HPV VACCINE?
There are 3 different licensed HPV vaccines, the one used in Ireland is known as gardsil, this is recommended by both national & international bodies including World Health Organisation American Society for Clinical Oncology, The Irish Cancer Society & The Royal College of physicians Ireland.
Gardisl Has been licenced since 2006 and 690,000 vaccines have been given in Ireland to date.

How do I book a Smear Test?
The National Screening Service is responsible for Cervical check. Women are offered a free smear test between the ages of 25-60. To check your eligibility for a smear test go on to www.cervicalcheck.ie. The service is free & your Practice Nurse or Doctor will carry out the test.

A cervical screening test (sometimes called a smear test or a pap test) is a simple procedure where a doctor or nurse takes a sample of cells from the cervix (neck of the womb) to be examined for early changes in the cells.

A cervical screening test is a simple test that takes about five minutes. It may be slightly uncomfortable but should not be painful. The appointment should generally take about 15 minutes in the doctor’s surgery or health clinic.

A woman can lie on her side or on her back for the screening test. The doctor or nurse taking the test will gently insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina to hold it open. The cervix is the area where the top of the vagina leads to the uterus (womb). The doctor or nurse will use a small, specialised broom to gently brush off a sample of cells from the cervix. This sample is sent to the laboratory to be checked.

The laboratory will examine the test sample for cell changes. If low grade changes are found, the laboratory will also test the sample for certain types of HPV infection. This will help to advise what needs to be done next.

A cervical screening test is not a diagnostic test. As with all screening tests, cervical screening may not always be 100% accurate. There is a small risk that cell changes will not be picked up in a test. However, any cell changes will usually be picked up in future tests. This is why it is important to have regular cervical screening tests.

Routine screening every 3 or 5 years depending on age is recommended for women whose cervical screening test results remain normal.

The National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) was established by the Minister for Health and Children in January 2007. The establishment followed the launch of a Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland 2006, which advocates a comprehensive cancer control policy programme in Ireland. The Strategy examines prevention, screening, detection, treatment and management of cancer in Ireland in the coming years. On 1 April 2010, the NCSS became part of the Health Service Executive (HSE) within the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).
On 1 January 2014, the NCSS became (NSS), part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the HSE.

If you are worried or need support, Purple House Cancer Support Centre is open daily for support, advice, Counselling and a range of programmes and practical support.

Contact us by phone 01-2866966 or visit our website www.purplehouse.ie

#sharethewisdom #cervicalcancerawarenessweek

Video courtesy of Canadian Dermatology.

The 3 main types of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Video courtesy of the American Health Journal.

Breast Cancer:

  • Can be invasive or non-invasive/in-situ (“DCIS” = Ductal carcinoma in situ)
  • Invasive breast cancer affects about 1 in 8 women over their lifetimes
  • Breast cancer is really an umbrella term for a large group of conditions that may be characterised by their genetics or molecular behaviour.

Video courtesy of MacMillan Cancer Support (UK)

Video courtesy of MacMillan Cancer Support (UK)

Purple House Cancer Support recommends the excellent MacMillan Cancer Support (UK) information videos