Meet our Case Manager, Jade. We wanted to share her personal experience, following an abnormal smear test, in the hope that it might inspire more women who might be feeling nervous, or apprehensive, to make that appointment.
At a cervical screening (smear test), a nurse takes a sample of cells from your cervix using a small, soft brush. The process only takes a few minutes, and although can sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable, it shouldn’t be a painful experience.
It’s completely normal for people to feel apprehensive, especially if you’ve not had a smear test before, but if you are feeling worried, it’s worth contacting your surgery to speak to a doctor or nurse before your appointment. They are there to help with any questions or anxiety you might be feeling beforehand. Alternatively, there are other organisations, such as Jo’s Trust who offer a free helpline for support and advice.
For all the men out there too, it’s important to be aware of how you can help encourage the women in your lives to get checked. This is not something to be embarrassed about and something that we want to encourage people to talk about. If you know someone who is concerned or worried about booking their smear test, it’s important to reassure them and encourage them to book in an appointment.
“Did you know that since COVID hit, smear test uptake has dropped to an all-time low, with 1 in 4 women invited to attend, do not make that appointment.
Sadly, I was one of these women.
In 2015 when I was 25, I went for my first routine smear test, I was in and out of there in five minutes, the nurse was warm and friendly, and it wasn’t half as bad as I imagined. Three years later when the letter came again, I was pregnant with my first son so I didn’t attend but was told that at 6 months postpartum I could book in. COVID then hit and my second son came along, and before I knew it 2022 had rolled around and I’d gone 7 years without being tested.
In September this year, I went to the doctors about something unrelated and the doctor immediately said there was a flag on my records showing I was overdue a smear test. She gave me no option and said she would do it there and then, again it was over quickly and painlessly. This doctor potentially saved my life!
A couple of weeks later I received a call from the hospital saying I had an urgent referral and needed to attend the Gynaecological Oncology Centre in 48 hours’ time for a colposcopy. I drove myself there, along with my mum for support, and after a short chat of a few minutes I was told I would not be having a colposcopy, but I needed LLETZ treatment to have part of my cervix burnt away and a biopsy done due to severe cell changes detected on my smear test. As you can imagine, this was a lot of information to process, and it’s all a bit of a blur.
Thankfully my story is a happy one and a week later I was given the good news it had not yet turned into cancer and that they had successfully taken away all the abnormal cells. I will have to go back for a smear test in six months’ time to make sure it has not returned, and I will definitely be making that appointment. The stress and worry this has caused myself and my family is not worth putting off that five-minute appointment.
Since my appointment, I have spoken to a few friends and colleagues and was shocked to hear how many of them either had first-hand experience of this or knew someone close to them that had. It still seems a taboo subject and one that is not talked about enough, which is why I wanted to share my personal experience. My hope in sharing my story, is that if this gets even just one lady to book that appointment, I will be happy.”
Cervical Cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix. Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by an infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), however in 98% of cases, it is preventable. Some of the things you can do to protect yourself are:
As many of you know, the team at Indigo Swan are proud to support Big C and have been doing so throughout 2022 through a number of fundraising activities and events. Big C is Norfolk’s largest cancer charity. Big C are committed to improving the lives of those affected by cancer. You can find out more about these fundraising activities on our website: Charity of the Year: The Big C – Norwich | Indigo Swan
If you enjoyed reading this blog why not try one of our others:
|TawkConnectionTime||session||Tawk.to, a live chat functionality, sets this cookie. For improved service, this cookie helps remember users so that previous chats can be linked together.|
|SRM_B||1 year 24 days||Used by Microsoft Advertising as a unique ID for visitors.|
|CONSENT||2 years||YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.|
|MR||7 days||This cookie, set by Bing, is used to collect user information for analytics purposes.|
|_ga||2 years||The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.|
|_gat_gtag_UA_12371872_1||1 minute||Set by Google to distinguish users.|
|_ga_*||1 year 1 month 4 days||Google Analytics sets this cookie to store and count page views.|
|_gcl_au||3 months||Provided by Google Tag Manager to experiment advertisement efficiency of websites using their services.|
|_gid||1 day||Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.|
|ANONCHK||10 minutes||The ANONCHK cookie, set by Bing, is used to store a user's session ID and also verify the clicks from ads on the Bing search engine. The cookie helps in reporting and personalization as well.|
|MUID||1 year 24 days||Bing sets this cookie to recognize unique web browsers visiting Microsoft sites. This cookie is used for advertising, site analytics, and other operations.|
|test_cookie||15 minutes||The test_cookie is set by doubleclick.net and is used to determine if the user's browser supports cookies.|
|VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE||5 months 27 days||A cookie set by YouTube to measure bandwidth that determines whether the user gets the new or old player interface.|
|YSC||session||YSC cookie is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos on Youtube pages.|
|yt-remote-connected-devices||never||YouTube sets this cookie to store the video preferences of the user using embedded YouTube video.|
|yt-remote-device-id||never||YouTube sets this cookie to store the video preferences of the user using embedded YouTube video.|
|yt.innertube::nextId||never||This cookie, set by YouTube, registers a unique ID to store data on what videos from YouTube the user has seen.|
|yt.innertube::requests||never||This cookie, set by YouTube, registers a unique ID to store data on what videos from YouTube the user has seen.|
|CLID||1 year||No description|
|SM||session||No description available.|
|_clck||1 year||No description|
|_clsk||1 day||No description|