Figures released today by Public Health England show that there has been a drop in the number of women having regular cervical screening tests. They show that around three million women under 50 have not had a smear test for more than three years, and another million women in the 50 – 64 age bracket have not had a test for more than five and a half years. These rates are at their lowest levels for almost twenty years. This matters to anyone worried about their fertility as treatment for cervical cancer may leave you unable to have children in the future.
It is vital that we all go for regular smear tests as cervical cancer as the screening test is estimated to save more than 4,000 lives every year. Having regular screening means that if there are any unusual changes in the cells in your cervix, this will be identified at an early stage and if you need treatment, it can be given early to stop cancer developing. You can read more about cervical cancer screening on the NHS website and there is information about screening and cervical cancer on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and the Eve Appeal’s websites.
If you are interested in a role in the world of women’s health, there are some fabulous opportunities open at the moment. For anyone looking to volunteer, the Women’s Network which I chair at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has some spaces. It’s a fantastic group of dynamic women committed to improving women’s health experiences, and members must be able to commit at least two full days at the College (in central London) every three months when meetings take place. New members of the Network will be expected to become involved in the work of a committees relating to RCOG’s work too, and to have regular email contact. It is a big ask, but it’s an extremely rewarding and interesting role and a chance to make a real difference. There are more details here
There are also two jobs at the charity Fertility Network UK. One is a short-term cover role for a co-ordinator for the charity for the whole of England, which is an amazing job. The other is for a co-ordinator for More to Life, the part of the charity which works for people who are childless, after stopping treatment or deciding not to have it – a really important role.There are some fabulous people working for the charity and you will have great colleagues. If you are interested, you can find out more here.
Nothing to do with fertility, but for female readers, if you are interested in women’s role in society, a student would like to canvass your views in a four-question survey! You can find the survey here – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DNMZ8KW
It’s the first day of March today, which means it’s time to Make Time for Tea for the Eve Appeal. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity raising awareness and funding research in the five gynaecological cancers. It was set up to save women’s lives by promoting research looking at effective methods of risk prediction, earlier detection and developing screening for these women-only cancers.
The Make Time for Tea initiative is part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and is aimed at encouraging women (and men) to open up about ovarian cancer and understand the vital signs and symptoms as early detection is key. A tea party is the perfect opportunity to do just this and also raise funds for and awareness of ovarian cancer.
You could host your own event as a tea party to raise funds by asking for donations, or run a bake sale. The Eve Appeal have free fundraising packs, and the first 500 people to sign up will receive a free fabulous Vintage Apron Pattern from Vogue Patterns!
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer amongst women in the UK and very little has changed for ovarian cancer survival, where so much progress has been made for other health conditions. Over 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and sadly 11 women die every day – the team at the Eve Appeal are determined to change these statistics, but they need your help…
If you are in London, you may be interested in an exhibition of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery – the Taylor Wessing photographic Portrait Prize 2016.
Two of the photos were taken by Katie Barlow, a documentary film-maker who is currently working on a fantastic documentary about not having children which features author and Director of Fertility Fest, Jessica Hepburn, who many of you will be familiar with and Gateway Women’s Jody Day. Katie has spent the last year documenting the refugee crisis, and you can see two of her photos in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. You can read what Katie wrote about this here – and the exhibition is definitely worth a visit!
Just to wish you a happy Easter – hope you all have a lovely weekend x
I’m endlessly fascinated by the things people put into search engines when they visit my blog. My posts about donor sperm over the summer led to some very odd results – I had no idea people were out there looking for “sperm donor sex stories”… Today someone has found me by searching for “fertility flogging” – no, I’m afraid I can’t help…
I’m back again after a stupid accident where I managed to fall over and land flat on my face – I am not a pretty sight.
I wanted to write a quick post about it though because it taught me a few things:
1. When you think “Oh goodness, I look dreadful today”, you probably don’t.
2. Do not walk around with your hands in your pockets, especially if you are prone to tripping over.
3. Do not assume that London pavements are flat.
4. You can wait an hour or more for an ambulance in London if it isn’t a life-threatening situation. Getting a taxi is probably quicker.
5. People are much kinder than you would imagine. Not just your friends, but strangers too. And even in London!
I’ve finally put a FOLLOW button onto the Fertility Matters blog site, so that you can keep up to date with all the latest blog posts. You can find it at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen – so, click and follow!
I do wish people would stop posting such ridiculous spam in the comments section of this blog. Strange as it may seem, no one comes to my blog wanting to buy a cheap handbag or pair of shoes or to improve traffic to their website, and I am not going to post your comments about any of these things – even if you try to disguise them by telling me in very peculiar English that this blog has enlightened your day, transformed your thinking or improved your life… Are there any real people out there??