Consultations / Appointments:
Women's Health issues are generally dealt with by the Practice Nursing Team and we would suggest booking an appointment with them in the first instance. It is also helpful when doing so if you let the Care Navigator (receptionist) know the reason for booking your appointment as appointment times can vary according to the reason for the consultation.
We recommend that women patients examine their breasts on a regular basis for lumps, which can be an early indicator of serious illness (Breast Cancer). For information on how and when to do this, visit the Breast Cancer Website which also gives detailed advice and information on all aspects of this illness, or come in and have a chat with one of the Practice Nurses.
Breast Cancer Screening in Suffolk:
This is part of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes. The aim of the programme is to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer. This is achieved by women being offered and attending for regular mammograms (breast x-ray). Mammograms can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers which are too small to be felt either by the woman herself or by a doctor.
Women are invited and offered breast screening from the ages of 50 to 70. Women may not be offered screening as soon as they become 50 but will be invited for their first mammogram before they reach 53. Women are thereafter invited for breast screening every three years up to the age of 70. Women over 70 will not be sent an appointment but can remain in the programme by ‘self-referring’ and contacting their local breast screening service.
Breast Screening in Suffolk is provided by Ipswich Hospital for the residents of Felixstowe and invitations for appointments are not issued by the surgery but by the hospital itself.
Cervical Screening Test (Smear Test):
Cervical screening is a method of detecting cervical cancer by testing for abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb).
Cervical screening is not a test for cancer as such, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix. Most women's test results show that everything is normal. But for one in 20 women, the test will show some changes in the cells of the cervix.
Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer and the cells will go back to normal on their own. In some cases, the abnormal cells need to be treated to prevent them becoming a problem later.
Women are offered cervical screening just before their 25th birthday, and thereafter 3 yearly up to 50. Women between the ages of 50 and 64 are offered cervical screening every 5 years. Please book an appointment for screening with the Practice Nurse when you receive an invitation letter. To get the most protection against cervical cancer it is important that women attend for screening when they receive their personal invitation. It is also important that you tell us whenever you move, this ensures that the invitation letters go to the correct address.
NHS Choices - Cervical Screen Test https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/
Since September 2008 there has been a national programme to vaccinate girls aged 12-13 against human papilloma virus (HPV).
The programme is delivered largely through secondary schools, and consists of three injections that are given over a six-month period. In the UK, more than 1.4 million doses have been given since the vaccination programme started.
Human papilloma virus (HPV):
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name of a family of viruses that affect the skin and the moist membranes that line your body, such as those in your cervix, anus, mouth and throat. These membranes are called the mucosa.
There are more than 100 different types of HPV viruses, with about 40 types affecting the genital area. These are classed as high risk and low risk.
What HPV Infection can do:
Infection with some types of HPV can cause abnormal tissue growth and other changes to cells, which can lead to cervical cancer. Infection with other forms of HPV can also cause genital warts.
Other types of HPV infection can cause minor problems, such as common skin warts and verrucas.
Around 30 types of HPV are transmitted through sexual contact, including those that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK.
HPV infection is also linked to vaginal cancer and vulval cancer, although both are rare conditions.
NHS choices - HPV Vaccination
Cancer Research UK - HPV Virus