The Staywell Clinic has been providing an alternative place for women to have a cervical screening tests for 50 years.
Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association, which funds the clinic at Noble’s Hospital, is looking to celebrate the milestone in September by bringing together as many staff and volunteers, both past and present, as possible.
Staywell manager Carole Cowin explained the importance of the clinic: ‘Cancer Research UK tell us that cervical screening is estimated to save 5,000 lives per year in the UK.
‘The Staywell Clinic has been in operation for 50 years, and provides cervical screening for up to 20 women per week – just think of the impact such a service will have had over this time on the fight against cervical cancer.’
Cervical screening was introduced in the Isle of Man in 1964, and the Staywell Clinic started at the same time with the aim of complementing the service provided by doctors’ surgeries and reducing the barriers for women attending.
It offers women the chance to attend a female-staffed clinic outside of the usual working hours, to encourage more women to take up the offer of a cervical screening test.
The clinic is held at Noble’s women’s and children’s outpatient department on Mondays and Thursdays from 6.30pm.
At the clinic women are also offered body mass index and blood pressure checks as well as breast examination advice.
At present, cervical screening is available for women aged 25-64.
Women are invited every three years between the ages of 25 and 49, and then every five years between the ages of 50 and 64.
Eligible women should be sent a letter of invitation from the Department of Health and Social Care when they are due to attend.
The leaflet enclosed with the letter gives details of how to contact the Staywell Clinic to make an appointment.
Carole said: ‘The test takes only a few minutes to complete, but it is the best way of detecting early changes to the cervix – which could lead to cervical cancer – before any other symptoms are noticeable.’
Screening involves a doctor or nurse taking a sample of cells from the cervix.
The sample goes to a laboratory to see if any of the cells look abnormal.
Some women who have an abnormal test result may need to have treatment to stop cancer developing in the future.
But most women who have an abnormal test result do not go on to develop cancer. Often, a repeat screening test shows that all is well.
The Staywell Clinic is just one of the services Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association is involved in on the island as part of its work against cancer.
It costs the association approximately £15,500 a year to provide.
The celebratory reception will take place on September 16, from 7pm.
Carole said: ‘If you have been a doctor, nurse or volunteer receptionist for the Staywell Clinic in the past, we’d love to hear from you.
‘We’d also like to hear from anyone involved from the Pathology Department, especially at the old Noble’s Hospital, who has liaised with the Staywell Clinic.’
Anyone who would like to attend the reception is asked to contact Carole Cowin on 628686.
For more information about the work of Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association, call 252725 or go to www.iomaca.org.im