World Cancer Day, marked on 4th February each year, aims to raise awareness of cancer. It highlights the importance of prevention, detection and treatment.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and remains one of the consistent top three causes of death In Gibraltar. Although significant advancements have been made in the detection and treatment of cancer, the burden of this disease continues to be felt by individuals, families and healthcare systems.
Screening is a vital and often under-utilised service in the prevention and early detection of cancer. Screening can detect disease in people who show no signs or symptoms; and it is often in these cases that best health outcomes are achieved.
There are several Cancer Screening services offered by the Gibraltar Health Authority.
Breast screening invitations are given to women aged 40-70, at two yearly intervals. Attending your regular mammogram is important as changes can be detected, even if you have no visible lumps or symptoms. Whether you are in the regular screening programme or not, if you notice any changes to your breasts at any time, it is important to seek advice from your Consultant, GP or Specialist Nurse.
Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. This is not a test for cancer; it is a test to help prevent cancer. Many people put off attending their screening appointment because they are embarrassed or anxious. If you have any questions, speak to your healthcare provider who will be more than happy to discuss any concerns. For more information about cervical screening, visit: www.jostrust.org.uk.
The cervical screening programme in Gibraltar is open to all women and people with a cervix aged 25 to 64 years of age. All those eligible should receive a letter to attend once they turn 25 years old.
If you are aged 25-50 and have not had a smear test in the last three years, or if you aged 51-64 and have not had a smear in the last five years, please call +350 56004698 to make an appointment.
A bowel screening test kit is sent to all individuals aged 60-74 with an invitation to take part in the programme. Individuals aged over 75 years that wish to participate may contact the screening office on 20007025. Anyone below 60 years who feels they are at higher risk of developing bowel cancer may visit their GP and get referred to the program earlier.
Those who participate in the programme return their completed kits to the hospital laboratory for analysis.
Colon cancer is common in Gibraltar; and the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Yet, engagement with the Bowel Screening Programme remains low, at around 40%. Participating in Bowel Screening is important as this programme can:
• Detect polyps in the large intestine. Over time, polyps can develop into cancer. Early removal of polyps prevents cancer from developing.
• Result in the early detection of Bowel Cancer. This results in a 90% chance of being cured after treatment.
If you have been affected by cancer and require support, you can reach out to the local charity Cancer Relief Gibraltar.
Tel: 20042392 www.cancerrelief.gi