Thursday, 25 July 2013

Cancer Screening

Just lately I have experienced how important it is to have regular cancer screening.  A year ago, a close friend died from cancer.   Two blogging friends have been on their own cancer journeys.  Janice has been through the ups and downs and  treatment over the past nine months or so, and is now clear and starting to enjoy life again.  Charlotte Ann is still on her journey, undergoing gruelling treatment, whilst recording everything on her blog, which will no doubt be of tremendous help to others in a similar situation.  As always, I am willing her on to a full recovery.

A couple of days ago, I found a lump in my breast.  Then a bruise appeared from nowhere, although I hadn't bumped it.  I went to the hospital this morning, saw the doctor, had a mammogram and an ultrasound.  As usual with hospitals here, all results were available immediately.  I have nothing to worry about.  There are two small lumps but they are benign nodules.  I don't need to go back for another year.  Which made me recall that it's years since I had a mammogram.  I will make sure that in future I have one every year.

Recently my daughter went for her routine cervical screening.  In the UK the first cervical screening is done at age 25.   In my daughter's age group (she is 30) it is only carried out every 3 years.    The results were back quicker than she expected.   They showed high-grade abnormal cells (CIN3).

She then attended the hospital for a colposcopy, and at the same time the abnormal cells were removed.   Statistics show that 1 in 3 women with CIN3 cells will go on to develop cancer.  She will now have to have 6 monthly check-ups for the foreseeable future.  This will make sure that if the cells return they can be removed, and any other necessary treatment carried out.

Today, my lovely, caring  daughter posted on Facebook to make others aware of the importance of Cervical Screening.   This is what she said:

"I can't stress how important this is, if I'd missed my last one I would more than likely have had cancer by the time the next was due, if you are due your cervical screening then get it booked today, a few minutes embarrassment could mean you are able to prevent cancer rather than finding out you already have it, simples!

The cells they removed were cin 3 cells so I will be having 6 monthly check ups, still a worry but imagine if I'd missed my last smear, it's so important to go to them, mine developed so quickly from normal to high abnormalities within 3 years so imagine if you miss one?"

Since posting this she has already had messages from two of her friends to say that they have booked their screening appointments.

If you are overdue for cervical screening or a mammogram, please don't put it off any longer.  Make an appointment now.  Better to be safe than sorry.

25 comments:

  1. I'm glad your daughter used the shock she had had to warn and help others.

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    1. I knew she would when she was ready Helen. And she was also happy for me to post about it here. If it saves one person it will be worth it.

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  2. I'm so pleased you were able to get your results so quickly Ayak...I know how awful that waiting time is. Mark's daughter Jodie had the same problem and treatment as your daughter....she is also so pleased she had the appropriate test at the right time. It is so important. I wish there had been a test for endometrial cancer...but even the CA125 blood test for ovarian cancer and cervical screening would not have shown up my little monster ! I am really really happy that you have nothing to worry about. Take care, lots of love Jx

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    1. Thanks Janice. I think the waiting around for results is the worst time. We are very lucky here that results for all tests are achieved on the same day. I wish my daughter hadn't had to wait as long as she did. How lucky it was that yours was discovered, even though there aren't specific tests. The way you have coped with your journey has been an inspiration Janice. Continue to stay well. Much love xx

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  3. a good friend of mine died five years ago yesterday from cervical cancer. She was only 38! She had a bad reaction to the medication she was taking and went into a coma. The doctors did testing and said she had not brain activity. Those of us who are lucky to live in countries where we have good medical care have no excuse. So happy it wasn't serious for you or your daughter!

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    1. So sorry about your friend Kelleyn. You are right, we have no excuse when it comes to looking after our bodies.

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  4. So glad to hear that you were clear and that your daughter's problems were caught in time.

    I did delay my last mammogram a while - mainly due to completely unfounded worries about language and insurance and appointments here. And a horrible experience in the UK last time (it took over six months to find out the lumps they discovered were benign fibroadenomas).

    It is so important to reinforce the message. Check ups are no one's idea of fun, but they save lives. And it is very easy to arrange them here in Turkey.

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    1. Bad experiences can often put you off Hilary, but you know as well as I do now that getting treatment here is a piece of cake. They are so efficient and not having to wait for results is a bonus.

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  5. You are so right. Always get checked out and report any unusual lump.
    Cancer needs to be checked early.
    Glad your daughter will be safe now.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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    1. Thanks Maggie. Of course you know only too well the importance of checks. I hope Harry is doing OK and that you are both staying as well as possible xxx

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  6. Glad you and your daughter are okay......I should get my daughter to go and get checked. I know I had Ovarian Cancer almost 20 years ago and I was lucky it was caught in time.

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    1. You were lucky Erica. I hope you can get your daughter to get checked...and you too xx

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  7. I haven't heard of any screening here in Spain and when I asked my doctor about breast screening as I'm over 50, he asked me 'why?'...
    I shall make sure I have the screening done - it is so important and without any obvious symptoms, so easy to put off arranging it.
    I had a friend with the same results as your daughter and after her initial treatment, she's never had any further problems. Hope this is the same for your daughter.
    Good post!
    Axxx

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    1. That's quite a surprising response from your doctor Annie. I hope you can get your screening done without too much hassle.

      I 'm relieved that my daughter didn't miss her last cervical screening and that the symptoms were spotted and dealt with. And I'm certainly hoping that,like your friend, she will have no further problems. xxx

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  8. I'm so glad you are both okay and got things taken care of quickly! Turkey just amazes me with their speedy healthcare system. If that had been in the United States it would have been days if not weeks of waiting and wondering.

    Terri in US

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    1. Thanks Terri. It would have been weeks if not months in the UK. The health service here is one I am very grateful for x

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  9. Wow. Thank you for the reminder, Ayak. I'm glad to hear you and your daughter are okay!

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    1. You're welcome Deniz...and thankyou xx

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  10. Sop glad that your lump was benign, Ayak, and that your daughter's abnormal cells were caught in good time.What a great idea to post about it on FB. It's just a shame that the Jade Goody effect seems to have worn off so quickly.

    I have to say that I had the results of my investigations of a breast lump the same day once and the next day the other time. The delay was just because I had a mid-afternoon appointment and the relevant path lab technician had had to leave work early that day.

    The UK now has One-Stop Breast Clinics which do all the tests and give you the results in the same appointment. There are very strict guidelines about speedy response when cancer is suspected. OK, you can't walk in off the street as the NHS doesn't work like that, but I was seen only days after I'd gone to my GP about a lump I'd found. In my case it was breast cancer both times and in each case it had developed between routine mammograms, which is why I'm such a firm believer in regular self-examination.

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    1. I guess you are lucky if you live in an area where they have these clinics Perpetua. I was anxious about my daughter because she had to wait weeks for the first appointment, then weeks again for the colposcopy. She would have waited again for the cells to be removed under general anaesthetic, but opted to have it done on the same day under local. There is too much waiting around. My friend who died last year was an example of this. She waited so long for her breast biopsy that the cancer had spread.

      I too am a firm believer in self examination. And any abnormality should be checked out asap.

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    2. Having had my cancers when living in two different hospital regions, I had thought all district general hospitals now had the one-stop breast clinics. I do hope the ones without one are getting their act together,.

      Sadly your friend's cancer had probably spread long before her biopsy, as it takes months for a cancerous cell to become a tumour big enough to be seen on a scan. I have several friends on a breast cancer forum whose cancer had spread beyond the breast by the time their breast lump could be felt or seen on a mammogram. Some people are just very unlucky.

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    3. I guess we'll never know if this was the case with my friend Perpetua. All I know is that she waited too long, the cancer had spread to her liver. Chemo was suggested to shrink the liver tumour, and the breast cancer put on hold. But then there seemed to be a longer than necessary period of time before chemo started. Follow up appointments were also few and far between. She lived in an area where the oncologist was in one hospital, and the treatment carried out in another...something I feel may have contributed towards delays. Who knows? We can't bring her back. I just feel sad that maybe not everything ran as smoothly as it should have done :-(

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  11. PS I forgot to mention that the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme offers screening every two years to all men and women aged 60 to 69, via a kit sent to you by post. People over 70 can request a screening kit.

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    1. Yes someone told me about this recently Perpetua. Good idea x

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