Cervical Screening; Why do it??

Last week I received a letter from my doctor about booking a smear test. Now known as Cervical Screening, is done every 3 years and I had my first one when I just turned 25, so I was due another examination. Just like the first time I received my letter, I didn’t bat an eyelid and called my doctors surgery straight away to book an appointment.

It was extremely important for me this second time round to make sure I got it done, as I feel my body has changed a lot within these 3 years, especially being that I am a mum now. Which is even more reason for me to get this done. I don’t take my health lightly and will always be a willing participate in getting checks done for my own sanity.

The whole process in total took me about 10-15 mins, with the actual procedure taking about 2 -3 minutes. It was done by a nurse and she gave me the option to be chaperoned if I was nervous and would like someone to be with me. She asked me all the relevant questions like ‘are you still at your current house address’, ‘when was your last period’ ‘are you on any birth control pills, and the name of it’ etc. She then proceeded to tell me what she was going to do, and asked if I had any questions. As it was my second time, I had no queries. Once that was done, I was asked to remove all my lower half garments and prop myself up on the examination bed. I was then told to bend my legs up and spread my legs apart. For whatever reason at that point I tensed up a little bit. The nurse was so lovely and reassured me it was OK and that it would be all over in a matter of minutes. She placed a paper sheet over my lower half and then she inserted an instrument called a speculum into my vagina. I wont lie it was cold and did hurt initially, but I’m pretty sure she did use lubricant on it. the reason for the speculum is to help it opened the insides of your vagina, giving it better access for the nurse to see your cervix. she then used like a specially designed long brush to collect samples of my cells from my cervix. Now that bit was extremely uncomfortable and it didn’t feel nice, it made me bring my legs forward into each other, and she had to then reassure me again and get me to relax my legs. After about another 20 seconds or so she was done. A little bit of a TMI, I did bleed a little, which she explained is perfectly fine and most people do. I was passed some tissue to wipe yourself off and I put my jeans and shoes back on. Before I left she let me know that I would receive my results letter within one week and if it said negative,then there was no further action needed and I should come back again after 3 years. She also gave me information about taking care of my breasts, and making sure to regularly check them and look out for any changes as women wont get a mammogram test until we are about 50 years old.

In all I am happy I have got this done and will continuously do so. I am firm believer in better safe than sorry when it comes to my health. I don’t like to take chances or shrug it off just because I am mentally and physically feeling fine.

It has come as a bit of a shock to me that, not everyone is quick to get their test done like me, and that although high, only 80% of women get it done but it is much lower in younger women (25-30) with around it being 70% in some areas. This is appalling and should be at 100%. I would plead for all girls to make sure you get this done. What is 10-20 minutes of your time to just know that your lady bits are all good! You don’t have to be sexually active to get this done. Just being a women is all it takes.

I feel there is just not enough awareness when it comes to women’s health. There only  seems to be engagement when a celebrity is suffering or dying from such, which shouldn’t be the case. Let us all be more aware.

Below I have listed some facts and tips to get you more in the know.

FACTS

  1. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, It is actually a method of preventing cancer by treating and detecting early abnormalities found in the cervix. If left untreated it can lead to cancer.
  2. You don’t have to have your screening just at your Gp’s, you can also have it at a woman clinic, family planning clinic or at the genito-uniary medicine (GUM) department of your local hospital.
  3. Everyday in the UK eight women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 3 will lose their lives.
  4.  Scientist for Cancer Research UK say that up to 4,500 lives will be saved each year due to cervical screening.
  5. You are invited every 3 years between the ages of 25-49, and then every 5 years between the ages of 50-64.
  6. The best time to be tested is during the middle of your cycle as this can ensure a better sample of cells is taken.

TIPS

  1. You should not have sexual intercourse 24 hours before your screening as lubricants, sperm could make it difficult to collect a good sample of the cells from the cervix.
  2. If you have undergone FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) or cutting let the nurse know.
  3. If you have been prescribed any vaginal cream to treat an infection then let your GP know so they can postpone it for a later date after the treatment has finished.
  4. Speculums come in different sizes, so be sure to ask for a smaller one if you are feeling uncomfortable.
  5. If you are embarrassed about revealing your lower half, then you should wear a skirt to cover your modesty, although a paper sheet should always  be given to you, to cover yourself with.
  6. You don’t have to be alone in the room with the nurse and can ask for a family member or friend to be accompanied with you.
  7. Try and stay relaxed as much as possible, you will feel the discomfort more less.
  8. If it is your first time and you are worried, let the nurse now, as they will be able to assure you and make you feel less tense.

Thank you girls for taking the time to read this. Has anyone had the cervical screening? What was your experience? What ways do you think we could spread more awareness for women’s health.  Thank you again for reading, and i’ll see you in my next post.

 

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32 thoughts on “Cervical Screening; Why do it??

  1. Once upon a time (when I was 16), you used to have to go and get this done every year. I had one done every year until I was 32, then they told me I only needed to come in every 3 years and I was like, what??? Crazy!! It is definitely important though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!! I had my first one done a few weeks ago & am awaiting the results. Admittedly I put it off for a couple of months because I was scared and anxious about the procedure. I don’t know what I was scared of as it was literally a 20 second thing. So quick , a little bit painful but nothing awful. When the nurse said, if my letter says everything is fine I was to come back in 3 years time, I said to her 3 years blimey that’s a while. They need to lower the age, its crazy that you cant have it before you’re 25. Do they not realise that people are sexually active & having babies younger than 25 and just in general its good to keep an eye on things as soon as you can? Surely. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% agree with you! Young girl are having sex as young as 13!! They really do need to lower it. Plus 3 years is quite a long time. I know my body definitely isn’t the same as it was 3 years ago, I would say at least 1-2 years would be more appropriate. Thank you so much reading and commenting, and good luck with your results! Xxx

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  3. Wonderful post. Cervical cancer runs in my family. My grandmother and mother both had it. It’s so important to get this exam because with early detection it is very treatable. I had precancerous cells removed last year. It was a huge shock since I was expecting something eventually due to my family history but not at such a young age. There is also an hpv vaccine that young girls can take that helps prevent cervical cancer caused by hpv.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Melissa thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope people see this and understand just how important it is to get this done. Do you still have to go every 3 years or can you been sooner? Yes I’ve heard about the HPV vaccine. I would definitely advice young girls to get that vaccination xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They advised me to get a Pap smear once a year from now on. I had always done it yearly– it was only recently that I had been advised every three years so I’m glad I went in as usual!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing Laura! I recently got mine done although I think women should be allowed to get a pap smear every year and not every 3 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I fully agree it’s always worth doing this. The consequences are way too serious to ignore it! It’s nowhere NEAR as bad as I imagined it was going to be.
    I’d hate to think there was something there that was too big by the time I noticed!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laura this is such an important post. I 100% agree with you on this, there is a need for greater awareness and that’s not just on this subject, breast cancer too, amongst much more! It does only seem to be heightened when a famous person is going through something and we are ordinary women who also go through these things. The age of 25 for me is surprising and I think it should start from around 18 at least. I had mine done and yeah it may seem nerve wrecking at the time but I’m with you, it’s better to be safe, health is very important! Great post hun xx

    Shannon // shannonkara.com

    Liked by 1 person

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