Hi! My name is Kerry and I am a NHS Health Trainer for Goole/Howden and also a Smoking in Pregnancy Lead for Goole. I work for the YOURhealth service in the East Riding.
As part of my blog I will be focussing on the symptoms to look out for and the importance of getting a check-up for both cervical and prostate cancer.
Are you aware of the symptoms?
- During its earliest stages, cancer of the cervix has no symptoms.
- The most common symptoms that occur are abnormal vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods, or new bleeding that you have through the menopause. Not all abnormal bleeding means you have cervical cancer but it is important to have this checked out by a doctor.
Do you know the importance of screening?
Cervical cancer is one of the most survivable forms of cancer – more than 9 in 10 women beat it. However, this is dependent on early detection. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of women have missed their routine cervical cancer screening; despite clinics still taking place.
The best way to protect yourself from cervical cancer is by attending cervical screening (previously known as a ‘smear test’) when you are invited. Invitations arrive to all women from the age of 25 to 64 years old. Women aged 25 to 49 are offered screening every three years, and those aged 50 to 64 are offered screening 5 yearly.
During the cervical screening, a medical professional will take a small sample of cells from the cervix and this will be sent to a laboratory to be tested for abnormalities. This means the sample will be checked for human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that can sometimes cause abnormal cells.
How do I know when my cervical cancer screening is due?
You should be receive a letter or text from your GP Surgery confirming when it’s time for you screening appointment but please do contact you GP if you think you may be overdue.
Are cervical cancer screenings taking place at the moment?
Most cervical cancer screenings are still taking place. If you have concerns, contact your local GP surgery to be advised about their current Covid-19 guidelines.
Here are a few useful links should you require any further information:
Are you aware of the symptoms?
- Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis.
- When symptoms do start to occur, you may notice things such as a frequent need to urinate, straining whilst urinating and a feeling of your bladder not being fully emptied.
- Although you should never ignore these symptoms, they also do not necessarily mean you have cancer but you should always get these symptoms checked out by a GP.
How are you tested for prostate cancer?
There’s no single test for prostate cancer. The most commonly used tests include: blood tests, a physical examination of you prostate, an MRI scan and/or a biopsy.
You can find out more about how prostate cancer is diagnosed here:
Do you get a routine check-up for prostate cancer?
Males over the age of 50 can ask for a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test by a GP. This measures the amount of PSA in your body and may help detect early prostate cancer.
Men are not routinely offered PSA tests, as results can sometimes be unreliable. This is due to the PSA blood test not being specific to prostate cancer. Raised PSA levels may indicate other, non-cancerous conditions.
If you have a raised PSA level, you may be offered an MRI scan of the prostate to help doctors decide if you need further tests and treatment.