Facts about Cervical Cancer
Cairde supports the Marie Keating Foundation’s cervical cancer awareness campaign.
The aim of the campaign is to promote early detection and to dispel some of the myths which still abound with regard to Cervical Cancer and Cervical Screening in Ireland. Throughout the month of May, the Foundation’s nurses have been travelling around Ireland on its Mobile Information Units giving free advice on all cancers but with a particular focus on Cervical Cancer. The facts on Cervical Cancer and Cervical Screening are available on www.mariekeating.ie or you can call 01 6283726 for further information.
Cervical Cancer is the second most common female cancer in Europe. A cervical smear test can detect pre-cancerous changes in the cervix which is completely curable. However, if left untreated, these cells may develop into Cervical Cancer. Pre-cancerous cell changes do not usually have any symptoms, which is why it is so important to have regular smear tests- Early detection can save lives. Log onto tellher.ie for more information.
Some of the myths regarding Cervical Cancer and Cervical Screening that are still perceived as fact by some women in Ireland include the following:
-MYTH: Cervical cancer cannot be prevented.
FACT: By having regular cervical smear tests, you can help reduce your chances of developing cervical cancer. This simple test can detect abnormal cervical cells and has greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in Europe. CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme provides free smear tests to women aged 25 to 60. A smear test is a simple procedure that only takes minutes and is the most effective way to detect changes in the cells of the cervix. Log onto cervicalcheck.ie for more information on screening.
All school girls in first year of second level school now get a free vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer. Older girls and women not included in the national vaccination programme may also benefit from vaccination. Your local GP can best advise whether the vaccination is an option for you.
-MYTH: An abnormal cervical smear test means a woman has cancer.
FACT: An ‘abnormal result’ is not cancer. However in some cases cancer may be found when an abnormal test is investigated further. If the results of your cervical smear test are abnormal, your doctor will explain what needs to be done. If the abnormal cervical cell changes are mild, your doctor may simply choose to closely monitor them as the majority of cells may return to normal in further tests.
The Foundation is appealing to women from all over Ireland to speak to the women in their lives about Cervical Cancer and the importance of screening and vaccination, the message is simple – Tell her, it could save her life.
You can also speak to one if Cairde’s Health Advocacy Workers in your own language.