Cancer prevention and screening
Read about symptoms of cancer and the cancer screening programs.
Everyone who has been granted a residence permit and lives in the Faroe Islands has free access to the healthcare system. Most examinations and treatments are free of charge.
Residents in the Faroe Island must choose a doctor as their general practitioner (GP). You can contact your GP in case of illness.Your GP will take care of much more than disease, for example vaccination.
Everyone working in the healthcare system is bound by patient confidentiality. This means that they must not discuss your case or illness with others - not even with your spouse, children, or other members of your family.
Prevention of cancer
Preventative examinations are also called screening. In screening programs a part of the population or the whole population is examined for signs of a particular disease.
Screening for cervical cancer
Between the ages of 25 and 60 you are invited to participate in a screening program to prevent cervical cancer. The test consists of a Pap smear from the cervix. The test is free of charge. HPV-vaccination is another way of preventing cervical cancer. HPV-vaccinated women also need to attend screening regularly.
Call your General Practitioner
You will get a letter asking you to call your GP who will do the test.
At the doctor's office
Your GP will take a Pap smear during a gynaecological examination.
The smeartest is examined under a microscope and you will get the results of the test about 10 days later. In most cases you must call the doctor's office for the test results.
The result of the test
Most test results show normal cells only. No further immediate testing is required if your test shows normal cells only. You will be contacted in a few years to repeat the test. Some women have slight changes in the cells (dysplasia) and need close follow-up. Some women have more severe dysplasia and require surgery. The surgery is a minor operation, called conization, where a small part of the cervix is removed.
Cervical cancer is caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus). HPV might lead to changes in the cervical cells which again might lead to cervical cancer. HPV might also lead to other forms of cancer, e.g. analcancer.
In Denmark, girls and boys are offered a free HPV-vaccination, from the age of 12.
The vaccination prevents HPV-infection and may therefore prevent cervical cancer and other cancers caused by an HPV-infection.
Screening for breast cancer (mammography)
Women between the ages of 50 and 69 living in the Faroe Islands are offered breast examinations every second year for early detection of breast cancer. The examination is called a mammography and is an X-ray examination of the breasts. You will get a letter by mail or in your E-boks telling you about the examination. The examination is free.
Who gets breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Faroe Islands, with about 28 new diagnoses every year. More than half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer are between 50 and 79 years of age.
Mammography is done in specialised radiology clinics. At the examination the breast is pressed as flat as possible between two plates and 2 X-ray images are made from each breast. The examination may be unpleasant if the breast is tender or sore. But it only takes a few minutes.
Your GP receives a copy of the results. If the mammography examination shows a possible cancer or precursors to cancer, you will need further tests, but that does not mean that you have cancer. It could also be a benign (non-cancerous) condition.
Why is screening mammography important?
The aim of screening is to prevent women from dying of breast cancer. Mammograms can detect a cancer tumour when it is only a few millimetres large and not detectable by palpation. The earlier the cancer is detected the greater the chance of a cure. A lump in the breast is not always cancer.