This Cervical Cancer Prevention week don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting your cervical smear test!
Cervical screening prevents 75% of cervical cancers from developing, yet one in four of those invited for a screening in the UK, don’t attend.
Cervical Screening is the method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells can be identified and, if necessary treated to stop cancer developing.
All women and people with a cervix in the UK aged 25 to 49 are invited for a screening test every three years and those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.
What happens when you go for your cervical screening?
The screening test usually takes around 5 minutes to carry out.
You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on a couch, although you can remain fully dressed if you are wearing a loose skirt/dress.
The nurse or doctor will gently put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina, this holds the walls of the vagina open so the cervix can be seen.
The nurse or doctor will then use a small soft brush to gently collect some cells from the surface of your cervix. Although the procedure can be a little uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be painful. However, if you do find it painful let the doctor or nurse know as they may be able to reduce your discomfort.
Once the sample is taken, the doctor or nurse will close the curtain allowing you to dress whilst they prepare the sample to be sent off to the laboratory.
The cell sample is then sent off to a laboratory for analysis and you should receive the result within 2 weeks.
Many are nervous and embarrassed about the process of cervical screening, but there is no need to be, nurses and doctors carry out these tests every day. You are also welcome to bring a chaperone to your appointment if this would make you more comfortable.
This week is Diabetes Awareness Week.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
There are 2 main types of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 2. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
Its very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.
When to see a doctor
Speak to your GP if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes which includes:
You can find diabetes advice and support at:
Find information about opting out of sharing your data with the NHS and what you need to know:
This year, people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.
There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers, looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.
Caring’s impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year. Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.
You can find information on carer’s assessments, local council support, respite care and help for young carers at nhs.uk.
Please visit the gov.uk website for information on how to demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status to show that you’ve had the full course of the COVID-19 vaccine and access this status when travelling abroad.
Please DO NOT contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status. Thank you.
Stroke Awareness Month, run by the National Stroke Association, is all about wearing purple to raise awareness of strokes and the impact they have.
A stroke is an attack on the brain which happens when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing death of that part of the brain. The effects of a stroke vary depending on which part of the brain is affected and how severe the stroke is.
If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Recognising the signs of a stroke
The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly.
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:
Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakened or numbness in one arm.
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
Time – its time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
It’s important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for a person who is in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure.
More information can be found at
NHS Blood and Transplant are leading an urgent programme to enable a UK trial that could produce vital treatment for Covid-19 and help save more lives.
This treatment requires plasma donations from patients who have had COVID-19 and are now recovering. NHS Blood and Transplant need to collect high titre plasma from willing donors to see if this might benefit when used early on in a patient’s illness, before hospitalisation and are in particular need of recovering male patients aged 18 – 65 years to take part.
To take part in this vital programme, you can call: 0300 123 2323 or visit https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-donors/who-can-donate-plasma/.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and women in the Midlands are being encouraged to attend for their regular breast screening appointment if they are contacted by screening services.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had a major impact on the NHS, including on breast screening services and, as a result, women may have waited longer than they usually do to be invited for regular screening. Now that services are getting up and running again, they can feel reassured by the safety measures that have been put in place.
Breast screening aims to find cancers early using an x-ray test called a mammogram. This can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. To protect everyone against the possible spread of Covid-19, screening providers will ensure that social distancing can be observed, and additional infection control procedures have been introduced. This includes the wearing of personal protective equipment by staff such as face masks and gloves.
Enhanced infection control measures mean that appointments may be held at a clinic different to the usual venue and these may take longer than usual. Women are also being asked to wear a face covering at their appointment, unless there is a reason that they cannot do so.
Dr Ash Banerjee, Screening and Immunisations Lead for NHS England and Improvement in the Midlands says:
“Measures are in place to ensure that essential, routine screening can be delivered safely. About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, so it’s important to attend for routine screening when this is offered.
“As long as you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, breast screening should take place as normal.
“Please attend for your screening appointment if you are contacted by a breast screening provider and informed that you are due for your routine screen.”
About routine breast screening:
After screening, about 1 in 25 women will be called back for further assessment. Being called back does not mean that someone has cancer. The first mammogram may have been unclear. About 1 in 4 women who are called back for further assessment are diagnosed with breast cancer.
As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every 3 years. Women may be eligible for breast screening before the age of 50 if they have a very high risk of developing breast cancer.
Anyone worried about breast cancer symptoms should speak to their GP as soon as possible.
Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet.
The NHS App is available now on iOS and Android. To use it you must be aged 13 and over and registered with a GP surgery in England.
Use the NHS App to:
If your GP surgery or hospital offers other services in the NHS App, you may be able to:
After you download the app, you will need to set up an NHS login and prove who you are. The app then securely connects to information from your GP surgery.
If your device supports fingerprint detection or facial recognition, you can use it to log in to the NHS App each time, instead of using a password and security code.
If you have any issues using or downloading the app, check the NHS App help and support page.