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Don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting your cervical smear test!

This Cervical Cancer Prevention week don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting your cervical smear test!

Cervical screening prevents 75% of cervical cancers from developing, yet one in four of those invited for a screening in the UK, don’t attend.

Cervical Screening is the method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells can be identified and, if necessary treated to stop cancer developing.

All women and people with a cervix in the UK aged 25 to 49 are invited for a screening test every three years and those aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years.

What happens when you go for your cervical screening?

The screening test usually takes around 5 minutes to carry out.

You’ll be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on a couch, although you can remain fully dressed if you are wearing a loose skirt/dress.

The nurse or doctor will gently put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina, this holds the walls of the vagina open so the cervix can be seen.

The nurse or doctor will then use a small soft brush to gently collect some cells from the surface of your cervix. Although the procedure can be a little uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be painful. However, if you do find it painful let the doctor or nurse know as they may be able to reduce your discomfort.

Once the sample is taken, the doctor or nurse will close the curtain allowing you to dress whilst they prepare the sample to be sent off to the laboratory.

The cell sample is then sent off to a laboratory for analysis and you should receive the result within 2 weeks.

Many are nervous and embarrassed about the process of cervical screening, but there is no need to be, nurses and doctors carry out these tests every day. You are also welcome to bring a chaperone to your appointment if this would make you more comfortable.

More information about cervical screening can be found at:
NHS.UK
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

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It’s Diabetes Awareness Week!

This week is Diabetes Awareness Week.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

There are 2 main types of diabetes

  • Type 1 – Where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
  • Type 2 – Where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 2. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.

Its very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.

When to see a doctor

Speak to your GP if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes which includes:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  • itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • blurred vision

You can find diabetes advice and support at:

NHS.UK

Diabetes UK

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Make your choice

Find information about opting out of sharing your data with the NHS and what you need to know:

Make your choice about sharing data from your health records – NHS (www.nhs.uk).

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This year, people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers, looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.

Caring’s impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year. Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.

You can find information on carer’s assessments, local council support, respite care and help for young carers at nhs.uk.

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Lets get back to nature to support our mental health!

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the Mental Health Foundation has chosen the theme of ‘nature’.

Evidence shows that access to nature is crucial for our mental health and millions of people a have re-discovered that during lockdowns over the past year. This week is about taking the opportunity to open our eyes to the power of nature and how it can help our mental health.

You can find more information about Mental Health and the support available to you at the following sites:

nhs.uk

Mental Health Foundation

Mind

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Dementia Action Week

Dementia Action Week is a national event that sees the UK public taking action to improve the lives of people affected by Dementia.

The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem solving or language.

Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.

However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
  • Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • Being confused about time and place
  • Mood changes

These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it’s important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you’re worried about memory problems or other symptoms.

You can find more information at:

nhs.uk

Alzheimer’s Society

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Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status when travelling abroad

Please visit the gov.uk website for information on how to demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination status to show that you’ve had the full course of the COVID-19 vaccine and access this status when travelling abroad.

Please DO NOT contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status. Thank you.

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Practice Closures for May Bank Holidays

Please be aware that GP Practices will be closed for the May Bank Holiday on Monday 3rd May and the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 31st May. If you need medical advice during this period you can: Visit your pharmacy – Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. Visit nhs.uk to find a pharmacy open near you. Use NHS 111 – If you need urgent medical advice but your condition is not life threatening. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you can access either online or by calling 111 from your landline or mobile (all calls are free). Dial 999 – for a genuine medical emergency including; loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent and/or severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped dial 999.
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Make May Purple for Stroke Awareness Month

Stroke Awareness Month, run by the National Stroke Association, is all about wearing purple to raise awareness of strokes and the impact they have.

A stroke is an attack on the brain which happens when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing death of that part of the brain. The effects of a stroke vary depending on which part of the brain is affected and how severe the stroke is.

If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Recognising the signs of a stroke

The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly.

The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:

Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.

Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakened or numbness in one arm.

Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.

Time – its time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

It’s important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for a person who is in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure.

More information can be found at

nhs.uk

Stroke Association

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Bowel Cancer: Do you know the signs and Symptoms to look out for?

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel Cancer is the second biggest UK’s killer cancer but that doesn’t need to be the case as it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed at an early stage.

Symptoms can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo

There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements (poo). Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage. It may also be caused by bowel cancer. Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.

  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit

Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit, especially if you also have bleeding from your back passage. You may have looser poo and you may need to poo more often than normal. Or you may feel as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough or you might not feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.

  • Unexplained weight loss

This is less common than some of the other symptoms. Speak to your GP if you have lost weight and you don’t know why. You may not feel like eating if you feel sick, bloated or if you just don’t feel hungry.

  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason

Bowel cancer may lead to a lack of iron in the body, which can cause anaemia (lack of red blood cells). If you have anaemia, you are likely to feel very tired and your skin may look pale.

  • A pain or lump in your tummy

You may have pain or a lump in your stomach area (abdomen) or back passage. See your GP if these symptoms don’t go away or if they’re affecting how you sleep or eat.

Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer, there are many other health problems that can cause similar symptoms such as piles, constipation, anal fissures or IBS.

If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them – book an appointment with your GP.

For more information and advice visit Bowel Cancer UK