Frequency of mammograms etc.

Last November I moved back from Germany to the UK so I’m adapting to a different health system.

 

In 2008, in Germany, I had a breast cancer OP. Since then, I’ve had a lot of treatment for 5 years. If I were still there, I would continue to have a mammogram once a year. When my cancer was diagnosed, it could not be felt or seen on ultrasound, only on the mammogram which my gyn compared with an earlier one. It was two tumours, both surrounded by DCIS, and a third area of DCIS. I therefore wonder what would happen to me in the UK if I got a new primary. Probably not statistically important, but important to me!

Apart from this, I saw the gyn twice a year, and once a year I had ultrasound of breast and cervix and scrape of cervix (or whatever they call it).

 

Today I went to a breast centre and had a mammogram and ultrasound of breast. It was very thorough and they also aspirated some fluid which turned out to be seroma.
I was then discharged, as I had had five years’ treatment, and told I will have a mammogram every three years, but earlier if I see a problem (but I couldn’t have found the lumps I had myself). I’m 66, by the way.

 

I gather the three-year period is standard in the UK. And is it normal to have no examination whatsoever of the cervis/womb? The doctor today said I’d have to raise that with the GP, since in the UK gyns only do breasts.

 

I think I will probably get mammograms privately since this is the one thing the German radiotherapists told me Ishould do.

 

What are other people’s experiences?

I think after dx and treatment the norm is to be seen every six months for check up for five years, and go for mammograms annually for 10 years.    Even if you are told mammogram recall every three years, you can request an annual one.   Hope this helps.

 

JB 

Screening protocols for the general population will clearly vary from country to country in the World and depend on the funding system applicable in that country.  As poemsgalore quite righly points out it’s a matter of resources.  It’s also a matter of statistics and risk factors of different cancers at different ages.  If people can afford to access screening privately, I’d like them to go and do it please, so that the NHS resources can be spread around the rest of us.    

 

Just to make a quick point though… cervical screening under the NHS does not stop at the age of 50.

 

nhs.uk/Conditions/Cervical-screening-test/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

This is a link which provides information on cervical screening under the NHS in UK.

 

Specifically:

“All women aged between 25 and 64 are invited for cervical screening. Women aged between 25 and 49 are invited for testing every three years, and women aged between 50 and 64 are invited every five years.”

I so feel for you, I’m a German living in Scotland and I so struggle with this health system here.  I’m used to much better than what I get here, but alas, because I’m married to a Scots man I just can’t go back home to Germany.  My DX is nearly 2.5 years ago (stage 3!!) and my only check up was a mammogramm one year after the mastectomy, just to be told my next mammogramm is in two years.  The oncology has discharged me after Herceptin was finished telling me I’m at high risk of the cancer coming back!  I went to my Gp and said I’m not happy with no check ups and she agreed to do some blood tests every three months for just now.  Worst, if my cancer comes back I would have less treatment here, NHS does not pay for Perjeta and other drugs I would get in Germany.  Although my husband agrees that we move to Germany if I should get secondaries.  In England there is a drug fund, but not in Scotland.

 

Rant over, sorry, but this subject is close to my heart.

 

Best wishes from a homesick lady :slight_smile:

Hi all
With so many variations in the types and stages and treatments of breast cancer, let alone variations in different countries in the UK, let slone Europe , it is almost impossible to compare.
For me, i have been discharged to self care by the oncologist with open access via the breast care nurses if i have concerns, with yearly mamos for first 5 years before reverting to 3yearly screening all being well. My cancer was picked up on first routine screening, and could not be felt.
Re cervical screening… any vaginal bleeding post menopause or after sex should be repirted to your GP. Cervical screening may or may not be recomnended, but gynae referral may be needed.
All practitioners are wary of exposing those in their care to radiation, it is not just about limited resources. The risks and benefits for each individual will be carefully considered.
In my local area they have adopted the self care route as tgey recognused the heightened anxieties of ladies attending appts even years down the line. To date i am just one year down the line, but was highly anxious awaiting results of my first follow up mamo.
Wishing you all well
LL xx

Thx Zeppa,

Yes, first one year since diagnosis was all good. I was tetchy and grumpy in the waiting for results period, i hope this will not always the the case.

Best wishes to all for smooth onward progression of each of our lives x

LL xx

Hi Jill,
So sorry to hear of the latest developments for you. You put the case well on the limitations of each investigation.
I hope you are keeping as well ad you can.
You also made a very valid point about lymphoedema and care once diagnosed with this, such as awareness of risk of infection, prolonged antibiotic cover, or awareness of NICE guidelunes to question those helping to care for us.
I believe we each have to become an active
partner in our care, and perhaps this us more important the less common the condition.
Much love,
LL xx