The doctors at Burpengary East Medical Centre provide advice on the seven national health priority areas in Women’s Health in Australia.
We provide a full range of contraceptive advice and options and advice on reproductive health and preventive healthcare – including 2-yearly pap smears, breast checks and mammograms.
The national health priority areas are:
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for Australian women with a 1 in 9 lifetime risk. Over 10,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year and the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age with 75% of breast cancer cases occur in women aged over 50.
The 5-year survival rate for women with breast cancer is 88% – which makes early detection critical – so it is also important to regularly examine your breasts after each period and report any persisting changes to your GP. Often benign conditions, such as cysts, are detected in this process so not every lump means that it is cancer – but if in doubt it is always better to speak to our staff.
It is also important – when aged over 40 – to have 2-yearly mammograms and these are provided free by Breastscreen to asymptomatic women.
Although somewhat lesser known, bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death in Australia – after lung cancer – with 80 Australians dying each week from this condition. About 80 Australians are diagnosed every week with over 14,000 being diagnosed annually. Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world – with 1 in 18 men, and 1 in 26 women being diagnosed.
Bowel cancer develops from tiny polyps in the bowel. The risk increases over the age of 50, in those with a family history, those with a past history of adenoma polyps and those with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Eating a healthy high-fibre diet and exercising regularly reduces the risk of bowel cancer by between 66% to 75%. If detected early, bowel cancer can be treated successfully but unfortunately only 40% of cases are detected early in Australia. Symptoms such as frank bleeding, changes in your bowel habits, anemia and later, obstruction are the warning signs to seek medical attention.
Screening for microscopic bleeding is recommended in those aged over 50 and having a colonoscopy is recommended for those over 40 – or 5 years earlier than the youngest relative with bowel cancer (for those with a family history) – or for those aged over 40 with any rectal bleeding. We have an excellent referral network of specialists should your require any additional services such as an endoscopy.
Since organised 2-yearly pap smears began in 1991, cervical cancer has decreased by over 33% in Australia. And it appears the introduction of the new cervical cancer vaccine will significantly lower this even more. At Burpengary East Medical Centre we have a computerised recall system to help remind you when your next check is due.
Ovarian cancer is the 9th most common cancer affecting women in Australia with over 1200 cases annually and 1 in 77 women being affected leading to an average of over 800 deaths per year.
As with most diseases, the risk significantly increases when you are over 50, have a family history, experience changes in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 or early onset of periods and late cessation, are childless, infertile and have never taken the combined oral contraceptive. And unfortunately, ovarian cancer often presents late and there is no proven prevention.
So it is important to have regular pap smears and bimanual examinations of the pelvis and to report any changes such as pelvic pain, bloating, abnormal bleeding and lethargy to your GP. A pelvic ultrasound is used for diagnosis and we have the resources of experienced specialist medical ultrasonographers who specialise in this field.
While 1 in 4 women are say they are concerned that they will die from breast cancer, globally only 1 in 25 actually do – the figures slighter better at 1 in 38 in Australia. But heart disease will be fatal for 1 in 3 Australians, so at Burpengary East Medical Centre we do much preventive health care in this area to reduce the risks by regularly monitoring cholesterol levels from the age of 45 onwards – and younger in high risk groups.