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Be Clear on Cancer & Cancer Screening


Knowing the signs of cancer could save your life

If you spot any signs of cancer, go to your doctor to get it checked out.  You're not wasting anyone's time, and if it isn't serious, your mind will be put at rest.  But if it is cancer, early diagnosis can make all the difference.  The sooner cancer is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.

For further information in various accessible formats please click on Be clear on cancer



Nearly half of all cancers in England are diagnosed at an advanced stage, when the chances of survival are reduced. Cancer screening aims to detect early signs of cancer before a patient has any symptoms so that it will hopefully be found at a curable stage. There are currently 3 official UK cancer screening programmes:

1) Breast screening – mammograms

* Women age 50-70 will be invited by letter every 3 years when the mobile unit is in WGC.

* Women over 70 are still entitled to have screening and they may request an appointment (01582 497599).

* There is currently a pilot study running so some women age 47-50 may receive an appointment too.

* Any women over 50 who thinks that she may have missed her last mammogram appointment and has not had one within the last 3 years may phone the Breast Screening Service directly on 01582 497599 who will send them an appointment either to attend their centre at Luton or when the mobile unit is in a nearby town.

* GPs cannot refer directly for mammograms. If any woman of any age is concerned about a breast symptom (even if she has had a mammogram within the last 3 years) then she should book an urgent appt with a doctor.

2) Cervical screening – smear tests

* These are offered to women in the age group 25-64 and these women should receive a letter requesting that they book an appointment at the practice.

* For ages 25-49 it is every 3 years and 50-64 every 5 years.

* You only need a smear test over 65 if you have not had one since 50.

* Appointments can be booked with 3 of our nurses Elaine, Lesley & Lucy in any of their clinics during the day and some evenings and Saturday mornings; for women who have regular periods the best time is approximately mid way between periods. If you are not sure if your smear is due please ask the receptionists who can check.

* If you don’t think that you need a smear test for any reason then please discuss it with a doctor.

* If a woman has any unexpected vaginal bleeding then please book an urgent appointment with a doctor.

3) Bowel cancer screening – faeces/poo test

* This is offered to all men and women age 60-75.

* You will be sent a self-administered faecal occult blood (FOB) test kit which asks you to collect 3 small samples of your faeces/poo and return it in the post. Using this it is possible to detect very small amounts of blood which may be an early sign of bowel cancer.

* If you don’t recall receiving a kit or think you may have lost it then you can request a new kit by calling the NHS bowel cancer screening programme on (freephone) 0800 707 6060 who will also be happy to advise you how to use the kit.

* Anyone over 75 can also request a kit by calling this number.

* A lot of people don't send back their kit. Don't be squeamish about poo, it may save your life!

* If any patient sees any blood in their faeces then please book an urgent appointment to see a doctor.

Following all these tests you will be sent a letter with the results and if there is any abnormality found you will be told what to do next. An abnormal test does not mean that you have cancer but that you may have, so it is important not to ignore this. If you have any questions about cancer screening then I or any of the doctors at the practice would be happy to discuss it with you and this can be via a telephone consultation.

Dr Anthea Cecil Cancer Lead Hall Grove Group Practice

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