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NHS leaders reassuring message to women about the safety of attending for routine breast screening

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and women in the Midlands are being encouraged to attend for their regular breast screening appointment if they are contacted by screening services.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had a major impact on the NHS, including on breast screening services and, as a result, women may have waited longer than they usually do to be invited for regular screening.  Now that services are getting up and running again, they can feel reassured by the safety measures that have been put in place.

Breast screening aims to find cancers early using an x-ray test called a mammogram. This can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. To protect everyone against the possible spread of Covid-19, screening providers will ensure that social distancing can be observed, and additional infection control procedures have been introduced. This includes the wearing of personal protective equipment by staff such as face masks and gloves.

Enhanced infection control measures mean that appointments may be held at a clinic different to the usual venue and these may take longer than usual. Women are also being asked to wear a face covering at their appointment, unless there is a reason that they cannot do so.

Dr Ash Banerjee, Screening and Immunisations Lead for NHS England and Improvement in the Midlands says:

“Measures are in place to ensure that essential, routine screening can be delivered safely. About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, so it’s important to attend for routine screening when this is offered.

 “As long as you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, breast screening should take place as normal. 

“Please attend for your screening appointment if you are contacted by a breast screening provider and informed that you are due for your routine screen.”

About routine breast screening:

After screening, about 1 in 25 women will be called back for further assessment. Being called back does not mean that someone has cancer. The first mammogram may have been unclear. About 1 in 4 women who are called back for further assessment are diagnosed with breast cancer.

As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every 3 years. Women may be eligible for breast screening before the age of 50 if they have a very high risk of developing breast cancer.

Anyone worried about breast cancer symptoms should speak to their GP as soon as possible.

In 2018/19:

  • 71.7% of women accepted their breast screening invitation (aged 50 to 70) and 2.23 million women were screened
  • 19,558 women had cancers detected by screening (a rate of 8.8 cases per 1,000 women screened)
  • detection rates were highest for small invasive cancers (3.5 per 1,000 women)
  • detection rates were lowest for non-invasive or micro-invasive cancers (1.8 per 1,000 women).
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Supporting your recovery after COVID-19

As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.

These changes should get better over time, some may take longer than others, but there are things you can do to help.

Your COVID Recovery helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. Find out more information at www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk 

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NHS App

Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet.

The NHS App is available now on iOS and Android. To use it you must be aged 13 and over and registered with a GP surgery in England.

What the NHS App does

Use the NHS App to:

  • get advice about coronavirus – get information about coronavirus and find out what to do if you think you have it
  • order repeat prescriptions – see your available medicines, request a new repeat prescription and choose a pharmacy for your prescriptions to be sent to
  • book appointments – search for, book and cancel appointments at your GP surgery, and see details of your upcoming and past appointments
  • check your symptoms – search trusted NHS information and advice on hundreds of conditions and treatments, and get instant advice or medical help near you
  • view your medical record – securely access your GP medical record, to see information like your allergies and your current and past medicines
  • register your organ donation decision – choose to donate some or all of your organs and check your registered decision
  • find out how the NHS uses your data – choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning

Other services in the NHS App

If your GP surgery or hospital offers other services in the NHS App, you may be able to:

  • message your GP surgery, doctor or health professional online
  • consult a GP or health professional through an online form and get a reply
  • access health services on behalf of someone you care for
  • view your hospital and other healthcare appointments
  • view useful links your doctor or health professional has shared with you

Keeping your data secure

After you download the app, you will need to set up an NHS login and prove who you are. The app then securely connects to information from your GP surgery.

If your device supports fingerprint detection or facial recognition, you can use it to log in to the NHS App each time, instead of using a password and security code.

Get help with the app

If you have any issues using or downloading the app, check the NHS App help and support page.

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Coronavirus – Latest Advice

Changes to Audley Health Centre:

We are continuing to open and offer our service as normal with the following exceptions:

  • We are booking telephone consultations in place of face to face consultations
  • We are making use of video calls, texts, emails and photos to aid in remote consultations
  • We are encouraging patients to use online access or the NHS App to order their prescriptions and to set a chemist nomination so that your prescription can be sent electronically to your chemist.
  • Where patients do not have internet access, patients should call the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) line on 01782 276960 to order their medications over the phone.
  • We are advising patients not to attend the surgery unnecessarily
  • We are making face to face appointments if the clinician feels it appropriate to do so following a telephone consultation.
  • We are asking all patients who attend the surgery to wear a face covering or mask – we cannot provide these and you will be refused entry to the practice without a face covering (a mask if possible but if not a scarf or similar wrapped around the mouth and nose will be acceptable.
  • We are checking patient temperatures on entry to the building and if this is over 38.7C you will be asked to leave (We are temperature checking everyone who enters the building including Staff and contractors).
  • We are currently operating 2 meter social distancing throughout the building / premises
  • If for any reason you can’t contact us by phone, you can contact us by email using the email on the “contact us” page.
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How to get an isolation note for your employer

This service, at nhs.uk, is for those who have been told to stay at home because of coronavirus and you need a note for your employer.

This service is only for people who:

  • have symptoms of coronavirus and have used the 111 online coronavirus service
  • have been told by a healthcare professional they have symptoms of coronavirus
  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus

If you are not sure if you need to stay at home, get the latest NHS advice on coronavirus.

If you have to stay at home but feel well enough to work, ask your employer if you can work from home. If you can work from home, you will not need an isolation note.

You can also use this service for someone else.

Get an isolation note.

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Now is the time to quit – National No Smoking Day

Today marks National No Smoking Day, aiming to bring awareness to the dangers of this addition and highlight resources available to you to help you quit!

Every cigarette causes real harm and with quitting you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll see the benefits. You’ll breathe more easily, feel fitter, your skin will look better, your sense of taste will come back and it can improve your fertility. If you have kids, you’ll be protecting them from the risk of asthma attacks, ear infections and cancers. You could also be around £250 a month better off too – that’s £3000 a year – just think what you could spend that on!

If you are ready to take that big step and quit, you can find advice and support to help you at:

NHS.UK

NHS Smokefree

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Don’t miss the signs – Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Over 7300 cases of Ovarian Cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year, but do you know what signs to look out for?

Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer death in women, after breast lung and bowel cancer. But the average GP will see only one case of ovarian cancer every five years.

Most women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, which makes treatment more challenging.

The current five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 46 per cent. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, up to 90 per cent of women would survive five years or more3. This is why early diagnosis is so important.

What to look out for

Symptoms are frequent (they usually happen more than 12 times a month) and persistent, and include:

  • increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
  • difficulty eating/feeling full
  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • needing to wee more urgently or more often

Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue.

If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, and that’s not normal for you, it’s important that you see your GP. It’s unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it’s important that you get checked.

For further information, visit the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month website.



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Signs and Symptoms to look out for as soap character is diagnosed with Bowel Cancer

Any Emmerdale fans will have seen that one of their beloved characters, Vanessa Woodfield, has recently, as part of her storyline, been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Storylines like these are a great way to raise awareness and highlight such important conditions, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated. However, it can also worry/panic some people, so below are the signs and symptoms you should look out for.

Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier its diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

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.



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Novel Coronavirus – What to do if you have travelled to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days

If you have been to Wuhan, China, in the last 14 days and develop ANY of these symptoms, contact a healthcare professional:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of travel to Wuhan, please stay indoors and avoid contact with others where possible. Ring 111 or call your GP and tell them that you have travelled to Wuhan, for free advice and treatment.