It is clearly evident that screening for Breast, Cervical, Ovarian and Womb issues early has saved many lives and this is a vital part of primary care medicine. Watching out for changes in addition to prompt and early investigations of symptoms can be vital in avoiding potentially serious illnesses. Unusual vaginal bleeding, breast lumps and breast pains can be extremely worrying but are often signs of only minor illnesses. Nonetheless, they should not be ignored and early investigation and management is essential both for reassurance and to guide treatment options if necessary.
Cervical cancer is one of those illnesses that may be prevented from occuring at all in many cases. Normal cervical cells (the tissue sitting at the roof of the vagina) must undergo many different levels of changes (CIN) before they can become cervical cancer. Cervical smear tests aim to pick up these changes, during any one of the stages, before they ever become cancerous and these can subsequently be removed, if appropriate, and potentially prevent the cancer from ever starting. A smear test can be done on any lady after she has become sexually active. It is provided free of charge to every woman between the ages of 25 – 60 yrs. All the GP’s and nurses at Buncrana Medical Centre are trained smear takers and registered with Cervicalcheck. If you have never had a smear simply log on to www.cervicalcheck.ie and follow the link “check if you are registered or call 1800 45 45 55.