Last weekend, the Podlaskie Branch of the National Health Fund, together with the PSS Spolem chain of stores, conducted an unusual preventive action. In all supermarkets of the chain, fruit and vegetables were labelled with stickers reminding women to perform cytology and mammography.
Polish women do not care about prevention
“Taking care of your health isn’t just taking vitamins!/Cytology: 25-59 years old.” “Study your breasts, see how easy it is! Mammography: 50-69 years old.” Stickers of such content appeared last weekend on fruit and vegetables in the grocery store chain PSS Spolem. In total, 7,000 stickers were used to remind women about preventive medical checkups. This unusual action was carried out by the chain together with the Podlaskie Branch of the National Health Fund.
According to the National Health Fund, in Podlaskie voivodship, similarly as in the whole Poland, the incidence of preventive examinations is at a very low level. Only every fifth resident of the voivodeship aged 25-59 takes advantage of the opportunity to do cytology as part of the prevention programme. Less than 40% of women aged 50-69 use mammography. Although some women may perform examinations privately, Poland is still a long way from Scandinavian countries, where 98% of women perform such preventive examinations.
Free cytology and mammography
Mammography may be performed free of charge by women aged 50-69 years who have not performed such a test in the last two years. It is also reimbursed for women who have received an indication for a test after 12 months. There is no need for a referral for a test under the programme.
The free cytology can be done as part of a programme aimed at women between the ages of 25 and 59. The tests are carried out every three years and every 12 months for women at risk. The risk factors are HIV infection, high risk HPV infection and the use of immunosuppressive drugs. As with prophylactic mammography, no referral is required.