Let’s talk about that much-feared procedure that could really save your life this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week! It has been a long time since I posted on here, I’m not 100% sure why I just didn’t have any passion to write… until this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Did you know that cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35? Yet 1 in 4 women do not attend their smear test… scary right?!
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen a post from a few weeks ago of a letter containing my smear test results and how I felt about it all, you can see that here. I turn 25 (I thought I was still 18!) this year meaning this was my first smear test, and none of my friends had been for one either. I had never had a conversation about having one with anyone, not even my mum, so I had no idea of what to expect. I heard it could be uncomfortable and a bit embarrassing, to say the least. I am not afraid to say that I am such a prude, so the thought of getting my pants off and spreading my legs to a nurse was a strange one.
If you didn’t read my post last year, I am a type one diabetic meaning I see nurses and healthcare professionals more than the average person. I know my GP nurse very well, we even run at the parkrun together, I didn’t know if this would make things easier or harder seeing her every week knowing that she’s been so close (it sounds so silly just typing this now) But either way as soon as that letter landed on the doormat I made my appointment.
I had the HPV vaccine in the first year it was avialable at around 14 which reduces my risk, but obviously doesn’t prevent me from everything. I may sound naive, but the thought of someone ignoring that letter and not getting a smear baffles me, but I understand the worries and nerves surrounding it.
So it was the day of the test, I sat in the waiting room very nervous! The nurse explained what was going to happen, then pulled the curtain across and asked me to undress from the waist down. I lay on my back on the bench with a paper sheet to cover myself, I then awkwardly had no idea what to do with my underwear and just held on to it. She asked me to put my feet together with my knees bent and apart, it’s as unglamourous as it sounds. She then checked I was comfortable and then inserted a clear plastic speculum so that she can see the cervix, she then used a small plastic brush to take a sample of cells… and that was it, all over in a flash and I hardly felt a thing, I promise! I was too busy worrying about her judging me for forgetting to shave my legs to think about what was going on!
About a week later my letter came through the post to say that everything was normal *yay* done for another 3 years!
I really want to urge you if you have that letter sitting at home to book a test. The nurse who will do the test will have done so many, you won’t be the first to get up close and personal, so please don’t feel embarrassed this is your health! The statistics that only 1 in 4 women are taking up the test scare me. So come on ladies, 5 minutes of your day could save your life, please encourage others to do the same and share the message.
Read more about the #SmearForSmear campaign here https://www.jostrust.org.uk/smearforsmear