This could be important health news, or answers to questions we often get asked at the clinic.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand women and the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
Currently in New Zealand there is a free national breast screening programme for women aged 45-69 years which involves having a mammogram every 2 years. If a screening mammography indicates an abnormality, the woman will most likely be recommended for further testing. We inform enrolled patients that they are eligible to go on the Breast screening Programme once they turn 45 years old. However, you do not have to wait for a letter from us, you can register yourself on the programme by ringing Breastscreen Aotearoa on 0800 270 200.
You are entitled to a free diagnostic mammogram if you are a New Zealand citizen or resident (at any age) at a District Health Board (DHB) provided mammography service; if you have significant signs and/or symptoms of breast cancer; or if you have no symptoms of breast cancer, but are considered at high-risk for the development of breast cancer. A GP referral is required.
A cervical smear test can be performed by one of our nurses but can be done by a doctor if requested. Please request a double appointment when you ring to book a time. After the first cervical smear test, another test is required a year later, and three years after that if the tests comes back normal. If there are any changes detected by the tests, you may need more regular testing or further investigation.
Maternity care is free for eligible patients in the first trimester. If you think you are pregnant, this can be confirmed by one of our practice nurses who will then make an appointment with your usual doctor to discuss your options for maternity care. Most of our patients opt for midwifery care.
For more information regarding maternity services in New Zealand, follow this link to the Ministry of Health website.
Pertussis vaccination of pregnant women may offer protection in 2 ways:
- It may protect the mother from contracting whooping cough and therefore reduce the chance of her passing this onto her baby.
- It results in passive antibody transfer via the placenta to her baby.
Pertussis vaccine for pregnant women is being recommended from 30 to 36 weeks as it may take 4 weeks for the antibodies produced by the mother to cross the placenta. The ideal timing is between 31 and 33 weeks of pregnancy as this provides maximal passive transfer of pertussis antibodies to the baby. The vaccine can be given later in pregnancy than these recommended dates, but this may only result in maternal protection from pertussis.
The flu vaccine is also free for pregnant women. Both the pertussis and flu vaccine can be given together.
For more information please contact one of our nurses on 09 9001111 or visit http://www.immune.org.nz/taxonomy/term/8.
Physiotherapy can help with these problems and in many cases can be improved with exercise and behavioral changes. However, it is important to note that pelvic floor exercises are not the answer for all pelvic floor issues.
If you think you need advice for any of these problems, you can call the clinic and make an appointment to see Jamie Thomas, pelvic health physiotherapist.