Friday, 18 October 2019

Cancer Screening

As I mentioned back in June - one of the WI resolutions for 2019/20 was...............

Don’t fear the smear
Cervical screening saves around 5,000 lives a year, yet attendance is currently at its lowest for a decade. The NFWI urges WI members to attend routine screening, to take action to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening and address barriers to attendance to help eradicate cervical cancer.

Going for the screening is something that seems obvious to me, I've always been for all breast cancer screening, feeling lucky to live in an area where the mobile breast screening team come to the small towns to save people having to travel to Ipswich hospital,  and I've also had my regular cervical smears at the doctors.
We were quite surprised when one WI member admitted that she'd never been to breast screening and never would. The rest of us all went regularly.

Cancer has always been 'just round the corner' in our family. My Mum was one of 6 children and all but one had some form of cancer which shortened their lives. My Aunt on my Dads side of family had cancer before passing away. Then I met Colin and just after our eldest daughter was born his Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she battled with for many years before passing away much too soon. Her brother also had cancer and died quite young too. So when our youngest daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was just 18  it was a horrible shock but not a surprise. Thankfully she was caught in time and she's 32, fit and well and the arrival of Florence was just the icing on the cake. Then of course came Col's diagnoses of Mantle Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma which is a blood cancer and again a huge and horrible shock but somehow not a surprise.

And then you get to age 60 and a letter arrives telling you that every two years you are going to be sent a kit to screen for bowel cancer. And you have to send your poo off in the post - which always seems so Very Weird!
When my testing kit arrived two weeks ago I couldn't believe two years had passed, the test was much simpler this time, just one sample needed instead of 3. The letter telling me all was OK arrived Wednesday - good news indeed.
There's no way I would miss out on any sort of screening, it's a simple way of keeping a look-out for that dreadful but oh-so common disease.


Back Tomorrow
Sue


43 comments:

  1. It just makes sense, doesn't it?
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. When I went to my last breast screening, I was chatting with another woman- and she said that she nearly ignored her call up a few years back - but she DID go, and they discovered a problem. Fortunately it was early enough to be treated and all is well now. But she said she nags all her family to take advantage of the free screenings which are offered. My last round of 'playing Pooh-sticks' was the old method. I look forward to the newer simpler version. My family seems to have few cancer sufferers - but many dodgy lungs and 'dicky tickers'. But I continue to thank the Lord for the NHS, excellent care, free at the point of need. In the States, this cancer screening costs a lot of money - and the poorer people suffer because they cannot pay.

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  3. I'm intrigues as to why the WI member wouldn't go - did she say why?

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    Replies
    1. Some women thing that because cancer doesn't run in their family it isn't something to worry about. Some women are paralyzed by fear that it will. Some women believe the false claim that the mammogram itself causes the cancer. Some women just don't want to know. The problem is that no matter what you think, if you get breast cancer it will eventually stand up and introduce itself to you. The best you can do is to find it before it spreads elsewhere and mammograms are the best tool available to do that.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Lisa for that comprehensive reply.
      At WI we were too polite to ask why as it was her decision to make. She wouldn't say more about it

      Delete
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      Delete
  4. I really don't understand how anyone would say they would never go? Absolutely crazy. I got called up for my first breast screening early, but I was in total shock with the result, my boobs have always been lumpy, but I was told I had a 3 cm lump(breast cancer), if I hadn't have gone to that screening who knows...
    And as for the cervial, not a pleasant experience but it has to be done, I am not old enough for the bowel cancer one, to be honest I think all screenings should be offered to everyone regularly whatever the age.

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  5. I survived stage 3 breast cancer 15 years ago. I'd had screening mammograms every 2 years before finding the lump that led to the diagnosis. Even though it was finding a lump and not a mammogram the previous mammograms were important in determining the activity level of my cancer. The screenings are important, even if cancer doesn't run in your family. I'm glad to hear that you understand the importance of them.

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  6. Thank you Sue for bringing this up in your blog. Maybe it will help someone to decide to be tested when they had been putting it off. I lost one of my brothers to the same cancer Colin had and I also lost my Mother and several other family members to cancer. If a person does not want to be tested for themselves then they should think about their loved ones and be tested for them.

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  7. Jane from Dorset18 October 2019 at 07:31

    Five years ago I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer thanks to a mammogram finding a lump I hadn’t been able to feel. The screening saved my life.

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  8. Such a very important message Sue thank you

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  9. Cancer is very uncommon in our family but I was still diagnosed with Thyroid cancer last year. I keep nagging everyone now keep up with checks and never ignore an unusual lump. xx

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  10. I'm glad that screening hasn't been hit by idiots like the anti-vaxers who are now putting children's lives at risk. I am old enough to remember when kids died of measles or were left permanently damaged. So I am glad to read that people are keen for screening to continue as I'm sure countless lives have been saved

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    Replies
    1. Childrens vaccinations are so important too. I had all the childhood illnesses without side effects but not everyone is so lucky

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  11. I'm afraid I'm a non-attender for mammograms. My smears are relatively up to date (sort of!!) and I'm not old enough for the bowel screening. I've done my own research on mammograms and made my decision from that.

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  12. Edited to add - I've actually only not attended 1 (my first invitation) which I got at age 52) - so may re-think when my next recall comes up.

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  13. Thanks for reminding everyone. We are so lucky in the developed world to be able to take advantage of such screening.
    Denise

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  14. What a sensible reminder for everyone Sue.

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  15. To me, it's a no brainer. I've had every cervical and mammogram screening offered. Particularly with cervical screening, it can pick up things which haven't yet become cancerous, as it did with a work colleague years ago.

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  16. Not a nice subject but so necessary for us all to keep aware of how important this is. I've done the poo one - a bit yucky and fiddly, had my boobs painfully squashed when called and had the cervical screening - but I am disappointed that once you are 64 you apparently aren't important enough to be monitored (the cervical screen) - I didn't think there was a magic age when it can't get you!
    Nice pic of you and the WI ladies in the article in the free Mercury! PatC

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    Replies
    1. Hiya, good to hear from you.
      I think - but not sure - that you can ask for screening to be continued - especially if cancer in the family, same with the boob one which stops automatically sometime soon too.

      I've got the write up about WI 100th birthday in drafts. The photo was in the EADT on the day we had a party which was good timing.

      Delete
  17. Dear Sue, I always read your blog but don't think I've commented before, However I follow this lady too and want to share her latest blog post, I think it will resonate with you. https://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2019/10/on-grief.html#comment-form

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This may be be a better link https://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2019/10/on-grief.html

      Delete
    2. Thank you Elaine, another lady who's life has been shattered due to cancer. As I said it's just much too common and horrible

      Delete
  18. Breast screen saved my life, Sue. It was my third screening; as you know, they are usually taken every three years and of course, by the third one I was used to it and went as one does for a check up at the dentist, not expecting for 'anything' to be found. But I had a stage 3 tumour and within 4 days of the screening I was recalled, and thus began two years of treatments (surgery, chemo, radiotherapy, the then new drug Herceptin. Fortunately, the treatments 'worked' ... obviously! I can't imagine anyone not taking the opportunity of this (possible) life-saving service.
    Margaret P
    www.margaretpowling.com

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  19. This is where our NHS is absolutely brilliant isn't it, they get slated for so many failings but when push comes to shove the work they do regularly and quietly day in day out touching everyone's lives is second to none.

    A good post Sue and a good reminder here for everyone.

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  20. A super post with sensible advice. I know that if I want to carry on with breast screening I will have to request it as I will be 70 next year. I will carry on with it as it is so important. I send off the three little sticks in the post too, ineresting that it is now only one. Good!:)

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  21. My next breast screening I will be 73 so asked to be kept on register but was told that you have to ring and make appt, they do NOT call you after 70. I double checked this and with hospital and screening unit which I was surprised about. This is in Dorset, it may not be the same everywhere.

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  22. Alas, no screening or reliable test yet available for prostate cancer, by far the commonest cancer in the UK after breast cancer. If there were, though, I wonder what the uptake would be.

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  23. I just called for a mammogram yesterday. I get it done every couple years. One aunt on my dad's side had some type of cancer but she lived awhile afterwards. I remember her drinking carrot juice to help with it. She was the one who left me money after she died. I was able to get my 1st car that way while I was stationed in England at RAF Bentwaters. And some lovely tea cups and saucers. She didn't have any children. Way too many people with cancer now which is sad. Almost like the bubonic plague ...it seems. God bless!

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  24. We have regular doctor's appointments, and testing, and screening.

    πŸ‚πŸπŸŽƒπŸπŸ‚

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  25. Ageee totally about any form of screening Sue - we owe it both to ourselves and our loved ones and also to the overstretched NHS

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  26. I have always had breast screening and ditto cervical smears. My paternal grandmother died from bowel cancer, and dad had it (though something else killed him), so I always do the bowel test. SO necessary. I can't believe that some people choose not to take part.

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  27. One of my SILs had a very virulent breast cancer when she was 35. Due to this her sister was scanned from her late 30s onwards. It was this that picked up that she too had breast cancer in her 40s. Both sisters have recovered thankfully. Arilx

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  28. I would love it if everyone got head to toe CT scans biannually after 40. A life threatening condition was discovered on a CT I had for something else. I would have died before it was discovered as it gave no symptoms. It would save lives and save a huge amount of money for NHS as things would be caught while easily treatable.

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  29. This year was the first time I had a PAP smear in about 15 years. Not because I was scared, more because I did not have a doctor. I am so glad that I have one now as pre cancerous cells were found on my smear, and I am now waiting for surgery.

    God bless.

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  30. My insurance Won’t pay for a Pap smear after age 65 and since it’s been over 10 years since I’ve had my last colonoscopy I’m going to have to have it before the end of the year. I did the stick but they wanna more comprehensive Look. Having had 2 maternal aunts with BC, i’ve always gone for my mammograms. In the last 25 years they’ve all been good, but the last one I had was the worst experience, I was literally manhandled by the technologist.

    ReplyDelete
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