Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - 23rd January
Today marks the beginning of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Sarah Belton, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Gynaecology Oncology at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and The National Maternity Hospital is asking women, “When did you last have your smear test?”
Speaking today, Sarah said, "Our experience at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and The National Maternity Hospital sites is that cervical cancer cases in Ireland have increased by 60% since COVID19. Women are presenting with more advanced disease in line with other tumour types. It is anticipated that figures for 2022 will show a further increase, this data needs to be analysed.
There are three key messages for women, HPV Vaccine is key to prevention along with regular screening. However, if you are experiencing symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, this needs to be investigated.
Cervical cancer doesn’t always present with symptoms, which is why cervical screening is so key. Approximately 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in Ireland. 75% of cervical cancers are prevented by cervical screening (smear test)."
In Ireland, if you are on the CervicalCheck register, you are automatically invited to attend cervical screening:
- For the first time at the age 25
- Every 3 years from age 25 to 29
- Every 5 years between ages 35 and 65
Visit The CervicalCheck register - HSE.ie to see when your test is due (you will need your PPS number)
Each gynaecological cancer has different symptoms. www.thisisgo.ie boasts an informative chart to help you track any abnormal symptoms you may be having. If you are concerned, please contact your GP.
The common signs of cervical cancer include:
- Vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, including after the menopause, after sex, or between regular periods
- Changes to vaginal discharge
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Unexplained pain in your lower back or between your hip bones (pelvis)
Cervical Cancer Prevention:
- Attend your cervical screening appointments
- Know the symptoms, if concerned, make an appointment with your GP
- Get the HPV vaccine
- Know where to find support and further information
About St. Vincent’s University Hospital’s Gynaecological Oncology Service
SVUH is a designated National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) referral centre for gynaecological oncology and the HSE Laura Brennan HPV Vaccine Catch-up Programme.
The hospital’s Gynaecological Oncology service was established in 1984 and is one of the largest Gynaecological Oncology departments in the country serving 2 million people, in partnership with Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH). The service diagnoses and treats women with cancers of the reproductive tract: ovarian, endometrial (womb), cervix, vulval, vaginal and other rare tumours. For further information, please visit Gynaecological Oncology - St. Vincent's University Hospital (stvincents.ie).
Referral Pathway to SVUH Gynaecology Oncology MDT Service
Patients can be referred to the Gynaecology Oncology MDT Service by their treating hospital or GP using SVUH’s official MDT Referral Form St Vincent's Hospital and Mater Hospital Combined IEHG Referral Form (stvincents.ie).
Referral forms are received by the hospital’s MDT Co-ordinator and Clinical Nurse Specialist and assessed for completeness.
Please talk about this, have regular smears and, if appropriate, have the HPV vaccine.
Please share your story, it may help someone.
Together we can help fight gynaecological cancers.
MDT Co-ordinator at SVUH: Amy Guilfoyle
Tel: (01) 221 4836