Background Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or other autoimmune diseases are at higher risk of developing certain malignancies compared with the general population(1). The National Cancer Screening Service currently encompasses Breast Check and Cervical Check. Breast Check provides women aged 50-64 years with a free mammogram every two years. Cervical Check provides free smear tests every three years to women aged 25-44 years and every five years to women aged 45-60 years. Cancer screening has the capacity to reduce morbidity and mortality from disease(2).
Objectives To evaluate participation in the National Cancer Screening Programmes among females with Inflammatory Arthritis attending the North Western Rheumatology Clinic in relation to 1) Breast Cancer Screening and 2) Cervical Cancer Screening
Methods Data was collected on 42 patients during routine nurse-led clinic reviews over a 6 week period in May/June 2012. Inclusion criteria were females aged 25-64 years with inflammatory arthritis. Data gathered included: 1) Patients’ knowledge of breast cancer awareness. 2) Attendence for mammogram/cervical smear tests. 3) Registration with Breast Check/Cervical Check.
Results 1) Breast Cancer screening: From a total of 42 patients, 34(81%) were breast aware and 8(19%) were not. Within this group 28(66%) of the patients were aged between 50-64 years and thus eligible for Breast Check. In total 25(89%) of the eligible patients had a previous mammogram. Ten of the eligible patients (40%) had their mammogram performed within the recommended two years whereas 15(60%) of the patients were outside this recommended time frame. 2) Cervical Cancer Screening: Thirty two patients were aged between 25-60 years and therefore eligible for Cervical Check. A total of 27 patients (87%) had their smear test performed within the recommended timeframe.
Conclusions This study reflects good adherence to current cancer screening recommendations. However it would be beneficial for Clinical Nurse Specialists to promote ongoing cancer screening in their health promotion review to ensure maximum utilisation of such programmes.
Ekstrom, K. et al. (2003) Risk of malignant lymphomas in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and in their first-degree relatives. Arthritis Rheum. 48, 963-970.
Brouwers, MC. et al. (2011) Effective interventions to facilitate the uptake of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening: an implementation guideline. Implementation Science. 6(1):112
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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