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Contact Us - Health

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Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs of the disease.

It can save lives by finding cancers at an early stage, or even preventing them.  Screening is not the same as the tests a person may have when doctors are diagnosing or treating cancer.  You can find out more about the screening services available in Guernsey by clicking on the links below.

  • Breast Screening

    • Symptoms of breast cancer and reducing your risk
      • Be breast aware
      • Being breast aware is about knowing what your breasts look and feel like.  Checking them regularly can help you detect when something changes.
      • Checking once a month is enough, for pre-menopausal women 7-10 days after your cycle is ideal.
      • Any changes may be harmless, but you should get them checked by your GP straightaway.
    • Things you should look out for are:
      • Changes in appearance or shape of your breast, like puckered or dimpled skin
      • Discomfort or pain that's unusual, particularly if it is new and persistent
      • Changes to your nipple like discharge, a rash, red areas that won't heal, or a change in your nipple position (pointing differently or pulled in).
    • You can develop breast cancer at any time.  For women of screening age, this can include the time in between breast screening appointments.
    • If you notice any changes in your breasts that are not normal for you, speak to your GP straightaway.
    • NHS Breast Cancer Symptoms  
    • Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms
    • How to reduce your risk
    • Breast cancer is not a preventable disease.  However, you can help lower your risk of breast cancer in the following ways:
      • You will be invited for breast screening if you are registered with a GP and are aged between 50 and 75 years.  Thereafter you can request imaging biannually
      • Be breast aware - check your breasts regularly even if you are in the screening programme
      • Maintain a healthy weight - increased body weight and weight gain as an adult are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause
      • Exercise regularly - studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by as much as a third
      • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink - even low levels of alcohol intake have been linked with an increase in risk
      • Stopping smoking - smokers are at increased risk of breast cancer, along with many other types of cancer
      • Breastfeed your babies, where possible - studies have shown that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don't
      • Talk to your GP if you think you have a family history of breast cancer.
  • The Guernsey bowel screening programme

    • In Guernsey, we use the flexi-sig test which examines your bowel for polyps (small growths that can develop into cancer).
    • The test gives a clear result immediately and you only need to do the test once.
    • Before your appointment
    • You'll need to make sure you:
    • Speak with the bowel screening nurse specialist.  They'll ask about your general health, arrange your appointment date and explain how to prepare for the test.
    • On the day of your appointment
    • You'll need to use your enema preparation before leaving home to come to the hospital for your test.
    • At your appointment you will:
      • Meet a nurse who will ask you to change into a gown
      • Complete a consent form
      • Be taken into an examination room and meet the consultant and asked to lie on your left side
      • The specialist will gently insert a flexi-scope (a thin flexible viewing tube with a light on the end) into your bottom.  The flexi-scope examines your bowel to look for polyps.
      • Be told the results of your test straight away
      • You may feel a bit bloated and uncomfortable but you can ask for 'gas and air' to help with the discomfort.  If you become too uncomfortable, the scope can be removed straight away.
      • You can expect to be at the hospital for about an hour.  The actual test only takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
    • What the screening test might find
    • The test is looking for polyps.  Polyps are growths or lumps in the bowel that are harmless at first, but can sometimes develop into cancer if they're not detected and removed.
    • -No polyps
    • Most people will have a normal test result where no polyps are found.
    • -Small polyps
    • If small polyps are found, they'll be removed quickly and painlessly during the test so you won't need to come back.  Removing them provides long term protection against developing bowel cancer.
    • -Large or several polyps
    • A few people (around one in 20) have larger or several polyps.  IF this happens, your findings will be discussed at a meeting of specialists and we may recommend you come back for another test called a colonoscopy.  This test allows us to remove these polyps and look further within your bowel to make sure you have no more.
    • -Risks and side-effects
    • The flexi-sig tests has been routinely used worldwide.
    • A small amount of bleeding can occur if you have a polyp removed.  The risk of any damage (such as a tear in the bowel) is tiny (one in every 50,000 people screened).
    • No screening test is perfect.  A normal result doesn't mean that you definitely don't have, or will never develop bowel cancer.
    • If you have concerns about unusual bowel symptoms, you should visit your GP.
    • Contact
    • Bowel Cancer Screening Administrator
    • Tel: 01481 707740
    • Symptoms of bowel cancer and reducing your risk
    • Bowel cancer symptom checker
    • If you're worried that you have unusual bowel symptoms, you should talk to your GP.
    • You could use the NHS Choices symptom checker to find out if your symptoms need more investigation.
    • Bowel Cancer Symptom Checker
    • The early signs of bowel cancer:  what to look out for
    • It's important to know what 'normal' bowel habits are for you, so you can spot any changes.
    • Unusual bowel symptoms include:
      • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
      • A change in bowel habit lasting for three weeks or more especially to looser or runny poo
      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
      • A pain or lump in your tummy
    • If you ever notice any of these unusual bowel symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.
    • We understand you might find it embarrassing, but seeing your GP early might save your life.
    • Reduce your risk of bowel cancer
    • Bowel cancer is largely preventable.  Around two-thirds of cases could be prevented by lifestyle changes.
    • You can help reduce your chances of getting bowel cancer by making changes to your lifestyle, especially the way you eat, drink and exercise, such as:
      • Doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times per week
      • Eating your '5-a-day' of vegetables and fruit
      • Eating no more than two portions of red meat per week
      • Stopping smoking
      • Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink
    • Preventing bowel cancer
    • How common is bowel cancer?
    • About one in 20 people will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime.
    • In Guernsey, bowel cancer is amongst the top three most common causes of cancer deaths.
  • Cervical Cancer and Screening

    • Symptoms of cervical cancer and how to reduce your risk
    • The early signs of cervical cancer: what to look out for
    • There are often no symptoms associated with having abnormal cervical cells or even with early stage cervical cancer.
    • However, in some cases, there are some recognised symptoms linked to the disease that you should be aware of:
      • Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period
      • Bleeding after or during sex
      • Bleeding after the menopause
      • Link to Cervical cancer symptoms on NHS website
      • Unusual and/or unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge
      • Discomfort or pain during sex
    • What to do if you have symptoms
    • If you're expecting one or more of these symptoms, it needs to be investigated by your GP.  We understand you might find it embarrassing, but it's very important you see your GP as soon as possible.
    • Don't wait until your next cervical screening appointment.  You should not have a screening appointment if you have any of the symptoms, instead your GP will assess if you need to be referred to gynaecology.
    • Reducing your risk of cervical cancer
    • You can reduce your risk of cervical cancer by:
      • Having regular cervical screening tests from age 25
      • Seeing your GP immediately if you have any of the symptoms listed above
      • Stopping smoking - smokers are at increased risk of cervical cancer
      • Having the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination when you're 12-13 years old.  The vaccine is offered at this age as its most effective when your cervix hasn't been exposed to the HPV infection through sexual contact
      • Reducing the number of sexual partners you have
      • Always use a condom to protect yourself from infections including HPV
    • Cervical screening
    • Who the cervical screening programme is for
    • Cervical screening is offered to all women aged between 25 and 64 years.  If you are registered with a GP and your GP has your current address you will automatically receive an invitation.
    • You will be invited every three years between the ages of 25 and 49.  You will then be invited every 5 years between the ages of 50 and 64.
    • Risks and side effects of screening
    • No screening test is perfect.
    • A normal result doesn't mean that you definitely don't have, or will never develop cervical cancer.
    • Sometimes you'll be recalled for more tests, but cancer isn't there.
    • Cervical screening has been used routinely worldwide.  Regular screening can stop up to 75% of cervical cancers developing, which is why it is important to attend screening when invited.
    • Symptoms between screening tests.
    • If you have symptoms between screening tests (such as discharge, bleeding after sex or bleeding between periods), you should see your GP as soon as possible.
    • Don't wait for your next screening test.

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