TU VARI PIEDALĪTIES:
Questions and answers
Frequently asked questions about cervical cancer prevention
- What is Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program?
- It is a state-organized and funded Cervical Cancer Prevention Program which is based on the data of Population Register. Every woman at the age of 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64 and 67 years will receive a letter of invitation to attend preventive exams of cervical cancer.
- What is cervical cancer?
- Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women. Each woman, who has sexual intercourse, can be infected with cervical cancer. Cancer mainly starts from infection with the HPV virus- human papilloma virus.
- What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?
- Human papilloma virus (HPV).It is proved that this virus causes most of the cases of cervical cancer. This type of cancer you can get through sexual contact.
- Smoking. Cigarette contains chemicals that can damage cervical cells.
- Sexual history. Having sex at an early age or having many sex partners also increases the risk for cervical cancer.
- Genetics. If a close family member (mother or sister) has a history of cervical cancer then there is an increased risk of developing this disease.
- What does cytologic smear mean?
- It is an analysis where cells are scraped off the cervical canal and then examined under a microscope. Such analysis is aimed to detect premalignant disease or cervical cancer at early stage.
- Why this analysis is needed?
- First changes in cervical mucus are not visible yet in the health exams, besides women do not feel any symptoms. If the changes are left untreated (with abnormal cells), there is possibility of developing cervical cancer.
- Does every woman need such analysis?
- This analysis should be performed every three years, except for those women who had their uterus removed, including the cervix. If only part of the uterus is removed and cervix is left then the analysis is definitely needed.
- Is it uncomfortable or exhausting procedure?
- Material taking lasts few seconds and it is painless. It is recommended to choose a trustworthy gynecologist, family doctor or midwife. You can’t forget to clarify the test results.
- What I should do if there are some abnormal changes?
- Basically these changes are not evidence of a cancer. Precancerous disease is easily treatable as well as this treatment does not cause problems and later you can give birth.
- Is this the only way how to early indicate a possibility of developing cervical cancer?
- No. It is possible to identify the cause in cervical mucus- human papillomavirus (HPV). Such analysis increases the possibility of the risk of developing cervical cancer, but the examination is not funded by public funds and it is relatively expensive, besides at the moment it is not available everywhere.
Frequently asked questions about breast cancer
- What is Cancer Early Detection Program?
Cancer Early Detection Program includes examinations that show whether patient, who is free of symptoms, has not developed cancer. One of the main goals is to reduce death rate caused by cancer. If the cancer has been diagnosed, then due to the treatment you can improve the quality of life.
- What is mammography?
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses x-ray system to examine breasts. This is one of the most effective ways to detect breast cancer or other breast problems.
- How often you should have mammogram?
In Latvia breast screening program is carried out every two years for women at the age group of 50–69 years. Breast cancer statistics shows that women at these ages are most often diagnosed with breast cancer. Every woman at the age of 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68 years will receive a letter of invitation to attend screening mammography.
- Are mammograms painful?
Mammography can make uncomfortable feelings and pain-sensitive woman can feel a slight pain. During the mammography, the breast is compressed in order to get a better x-ray image. Getting x-ray image takes a couple of minutes but the whole visit takes about 20 minutes.
- Is mammogram bad for women's health?
Mammography method is considered healthy.
- How to prepare for mammogram?
The most appropriate clothing consists of two parts- trousers or skirt and blouse, because it would be needed to take off clothes (waist- deep). On the day of the exam you should avoid using body lotion, powder, perfume, antiperspirants or jewellery.
- What you should take along to mammogram?
When going to the exam you should take along an invitation letter (which also is state funded referral to the exam) and screening mammography card added to the letter. It is desirable to take along all previous breast exam results.
- How to detect breast cancer in its early stages?
Mammography can help diagnosing cancer when it is only like a small piece. Cancers in their early stages are relatively easy to treat so it’s important to detect it early.
Worldwide studies shows that women, who participate in Cancer Early Detection Program, find breast cancer in its early stage and these women live longer than those who are not participating in program.
- How will a patient get the results of mammography?
Mammography results you can get in that hospital where you had a mammogram.
- Who are the people in breast cancer risk group?
Breast cancer largely is considered a woman’s disease but also men can get breast cancer.
Woman at the age of 50 is at increased risk of breast cancer. Woman with a family history of breast cancer has particularly high risk of developing breast cancer.
- Is breast cancer a hereditary disease?
Most cases of breast cancer arise in women without first-degree relatives (e.g. mother or sister) who have previously developed the disease. However, there is a possibility not to have breast cancer.
- If there is no family history of breast cancer, is there any risk of developing breast cancer?
Yes, woman has a risk of developing breast cancer.
- What can affect breast cancer?
The main risk factors are human characteristics or behaviour that makes him or her more vulnerable to diseases than others. Several factors can be mentioned; however there is no clear thought which of these factors can develop breast cancer.
- Gender – cancer is more common among women than men.
- Age – the older woman is the greater chance of developing the breast cancer.
- Family history – there are some cases when women having a close male blood relative with breast cancer also had this disease in previous generations.
- Pregnancy – women who have never been pregnant or who have had a child before 30 are at higher risk.
- Alcohol – studies indicate that consumption of alcohol slightly increases the risk.
- Smoking – studies show that there is a significant link between smoking and breast cancer: the more and the longer woman smokes, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Obesity – studies indicate that being overweight increases breast cancer risk, especially for postmenopausal women. This is because of fat tissue ability to increase estrogens level and later this high level increases breast cancer risk.
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