Cervical cancer screening
Cervical screening is done to detect early changes in the cervical cells which might be an indication of cervical cancer. It is important that you have regular checks, as it has been shown to pick up about 75% of cervical cancers. Women between 25 and 49 years of age are screened every 3 years. Women aged 50-64 years are screened every 5 years. However if you are over 65, you will only be screened if you have not had a smear since your 50th birthday or you’ve had an abnormal smear.
It is important for women to become familiar with their bodies, especially the breasts. It’s been found that the vast majority of breast cancers are found by women themselves. Become used to the way your breasts feel and how it changes at different times, especially during your periods and as you become older. You should examine your breasts at least once a month. If you find a lump please consult with your doctor.
Here are some useful websites & videos to help you with breast examinations with some information on breast cancer:
- Embarrassing Illnesses – How to check your Breasts
- NHS – How should I check my Breasts
- Break Through – signs of Breast Cancer
- Breast Awareness – Breast Cancer Care
Vaginal discharge is very common, and many women will have a discharge at some point, especially before periods. Discharge is normally clear or white. If you have an infection it is then usually a different colour and may smell. If you have a discharge along with itching, tenderness in the vaginal area, pain on having sex, tummy pain, fevers or pain on passing urine, this is not normal. Especially if you have recently changed your sexual partner, you need to be checked. Please make an appointment at one of the local sexual health clinics or make an appointment with one of our doctors who will do a swab test.
Vaginal bleeding is normal in women if they are on the pill, having a normal period or are taking HRT. You may Expect to have some breakthrough bleeding, or irregular bleeds if you have started a new contraceptive pill, have the implant or have a coil fitted. If this is prolonged after 6months then you should seek advice from your doctor.
Vaginal bleeding is not normal when there is too much bleeding during normal periods, or if you bleed very heavily with very short (1-3days) or prolonged cycles (more than 7days). If you find that your periods are very irregular, or you have no periods please consult your doctor.
There are other instances where in it is not normal for you to bleed, and this includes bleeding after having sex, bleeding in between periods, or bleeding whilst pregnant. Please also be aware that it is also not normal to have any vaginal bleeding before age 10.
Women who are more than 6 months post menopausal and are experiencing vaginal bleeding should consult their doctor immediately, as this is a possible sign of a womb cancer.
If your periods are too heavy and causing you problems (menorrhagia) please consult your doctor.
It is the 5th most common cancer of all cancers and is the commonest cancer in women between 30 and 80yrs old. You should consult your doctor if you have any symptoms including tummy pain, loss of appetite, feeling full after eating little, bloating, weight loss or weight gain.
- NHS – Ovarian Cancer
- Macmillan – Ovarian cancer Macmillan
- Ovarian Cancer Action
- Target Ovarian Cancer
Periods or menstruation, should start between 10-16 years old and expect to end at the end of your childbearing age which can vary from 40-60 on average. If you have not had a period and you are 16 or your child is bleeding before 10 years old then this is not normal. Usually periods are once monthly and last anywhere from 5-7 days. If you find that you have missed a period and you are not pregnant, menopausal or breastfeeding, your pattern is not regular, or your periods are too painful or very heavy, consult your doctor.
This is a common female problem usually presenting in your 30s-40s, where cells normally found in the womb if found away from the womb. It is not cancerous. For more information see the website below.
Polycystic ovaries (PCO)
This is a very common condition and most people will not even know they have it.
Polycystic ovaries can put you more at risk of developing other conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, Diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Weight loss is the main form of treatment.
This literally means the last menstrual period. You will know that you are going through the natural menopause when you stop having periods for a year. If you ever notice any vaginal bleeding AFTER the menopause, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Menopausal symptoms are very common, and some women find them distressing. If you are bothered by any of your menopausal symptoms or have any questions, have a look at the information below and then consult your doctor.
- NHS – Menopause
- patient.co.uk – HRT
- NHS – HRT
- Oestrogen only HRT Patient decision aid
- Combined HRT Patient decision aid