Each year approximately 900 women lose their fight with cervical cancer. This makes me really sad, especially when most of these cases could have been prevented if they had gone for regular smear tests. Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented.
Recently the numbers of younger women attending their routine smear tests has fallen to below 80%. WHY? This is a potentially life saving test, why would anyone choose not to go? Embarrassment and in some cases fear. Going to your GP, stripping off from the waist down and having a doctor rooting around between your legs is a huge embarrassment for most young women, putting ‘booking their smear test’ to the bottom of the ‘things to do’ list. Their are other women who are simply too scared to find out anything bad and so decide to ignore the problem all together.
The problem is that cervical cancer doesn’t show any symptoms until its far too late to do anything about it. So having your smear test is vital.
I had my first smear test at 15 years old because of a cyst that needed removing. For many years I received a negative result, but one year it came back positive…I was petrified. The first thought was “oh my god I have cancer”. I began having investigations called Colposcopy’s; similar to a smear but it’s done at the hospital by a specialist who also looks closely at your cervix and if needed they take a small biopsy. After about 2 years of these investigations they decided they wanted to remove my abnormal cells. The treatment was done and I have now been back to having my normal smear tests, which I am pleased to say are back to showing a negative result. Had I ignored my tests I may have been in a very different place right now.
Please be safe not sorry. Book your tests and encourage the ladies in your life (mothers, sisters, friends, etc) to book theirs. No excuses.