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Cervical Cancer Prevention Week & A Shameful Admission

This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and it’s getting a little bit difficult to hide from. From posts all over Facebook of women with their lipstick smeared down their job, to reports on the radio of exactly how many lives are claimed each year from a disease that can be so easily prevented by regular smears and awareness of symptoms.

I’d describe myself as an intelligent woman who cares about her health and well-being but do you know what, I’ve never had a smear.

It’s a shameful admission I know, but it’s one I’m willing to share with you today in light of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week’s theme of ‘Reduce Your Risk’

So how did I come to be a nearly 32 year old woman, married for four years and a mother to one, who has never had a smear?

I suppose you can put it down to my personality as well as my circumstances . I’ve never been keen on attending the doctors, dentists, hairdressers or opticians. Don’t ask me why, but they’re just appointments I put off again and again and you can tell by the state of my roots. Apart from seeing the GP during my pregnancy about my SPD so I could get a sick note and once more for my post partum check up, the only time I’ve been to the doctors in the past ten years is to get some antibiotics to clear up a particularly bad case of cystitis I couldn’t cure at home. I only go to the dentists when absolutely necessary and as for the opticians…well, it’s probably best I don’t admit how long it’s been since I went there!

never had a smear: a close up shot of a pink flower

So how have I managed to ignore the reminders from my doctor to go and have my smear? Well actually, I’ve only ever been invited once and that was when I was pregnant. I was sat in the doctors waiting room waiting to see my midwife when my name was shouted by the receptionist. Just as I started walking over to her window she shouted, ‘Do you want to get yer smear while yer here?‘ I kid you not, the whole room witnessed this invite and looked up to see what my response was going to be.  I had to quickly explain that I was pregnant and as such couldn’t have it done. She looked at me blankly and then proceeded to offer me a flu jab instead.

I promised myself when I had the baby I’d make sure I’d go in to get it done; I’m still waiting to be invited, and I’m also lacking the gumption to sort it out myself. Bad, I know. That baby is 20 months old now…

never had a smear: a woman's face bursts through a sheet of pink paper. The woman has lovely white teeth and shiny pink lipstick.

I really should know better. A few years ago a good friend of mine had an abnormal result and had to have a procedure done to get rid of the cells. It was a scary few weeks but luckily everything turned out okay. It’s not the same for a lot of women though. Nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer everyday and each day two women lose their lives to the disease. The most shocking statistic? 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by smear tests.

This week I am going to make it my mission to get myself booked in for a smear (and the dentists, hairdressers and opticians!) and if you are in the same boat as me, or it’s been a while since you last had a smear, please do the same. A few moments of pain and/or embarrassment is worth it if it could potentially save your life.

You can read more about what to expect from a smear exam here. Or perhaps if you’re a bit squeamish, don’t bother and just book the appointment!

I’d love to hear your thoughts…Have you had regular smears since you became sexually active? Or have you been avoiding them like the plague?

The Pramshed

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39 Comments

  • Reply Tracy Nixon

    Dont feel bad – I am the same and have thrown away all the letters and reminder letters to have my smear tests. I have even been sent consents forms by my doctor’s surgery to confirm in writing that I am refusing to have my smear – and I have signed them. You will ask why? Well it is because I had one and hated it – I felt embarassed, uncomfortable and it hurt and therefore the thought of having another repulses and frightens me. I also don’t have the annual checkups on my eyes and teeth, though I still take my children to the dentist. I just hate having checkups myself – so you are not the only one x

    23rd January 2018 at 6:43 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      We must be kindred spirits Tracy because I feel exactly the same. Thanks so much for making me feel better that I am not the only one who avoids these appointments like the plague!

      27th January 2018 at 3:19 pm
  • Reply Dan

    Being a male, I could be missing something, be completely wrong and even be frowned upon for commenting, but I can’t understand why you wouldn’t have this done? Sure it might be a bit weird getting your bits out in front of a stranger (medical professional), it might be a bit uncomfortable for a few seconds, but probably less uncomfortable than dying prematurely to this disease. Book it in. Get it done.

    23rd January 2018 at 6:55 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      Of course you are right Dan, thanks for your comment 🙂

      27th January 2018 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Hayley (Devon Mama)

    I had my first smear when I was 26 I think and admittedly, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever had done. I’d liken it to the dentist definitely in terms of the thought of it being worse than it actually is! I’m overdue another one but kept forgetting to book it and then fell pregnant. It’s awful isn’t it, its one of those things I know I SHOULD do but just never get round to. I think it would be a better system if it was somehow mandatory or booked in for you so you have to actively ring and cancel rather than just not book.

    23rd January 2018 at 9:20 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m glad you have had a few though! I knew you’d be sensible 🙂

      27th January 2018 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Karen

    Smear tests used to be done automatically at post natal check up, did nobody examine you internally at that checkup. If not I despair at how things have gone in this world 🙁

    23rd January 2018 at 11:46 am
  • Reply karen

    I can’t believe that a smear isn’t done at post natal examination. It was always mandatory to have an internal examination 6 weeks after birth *to make sure everything was healed and back to normal* and a smear test carried on then plus it was the *green light* to resume sex life, I know people don’t wait for that anymore and some people are comfortable resuming the day they leave hospital,

    23rd January 2018 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Jenni

    For me I became kind of immune to the embarrassment of it all once I had my daughter, all dignity went out of the window. I am so glad that we have the option to have them as a preventative check available to us.

    23rd January 2018 at 9:01 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      I didn’t find pregnancy or childbirth to be embarrassing at all. I had an internal check at nine weeks due to a bleed but until i went into spontaneous labour at 39+6 i didn’t have any checks. My cervix was checked twice during labour (although I did go in at 8cm dialated) and I was so out of it at the pushing stage I can’t even remember having my bits on show!

      27th January 2018 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Laura - Dear Bear and Beany

    I never had one as part of a post natal examination! But I always get my reminder through the post and make sure I go.

    23rd January 2018 at 9:35 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      That’s great. It is an important appointment to keep. I’ve booked mine now.

      27th January 2018 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Louise (@TattooedMumsy)

    It’s such an important check up but I’ll admit that, like you, I also find it’s one of those appointments I keep putting off when I really shouldn’t. I got a reminder a couple fo motnhs back so will have to make a booking.

    24th January 2018 at 9:42 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      Great, I’m glad you are going to get it sorted. I’ve booked mine now!

      27th January 2018 at 3:09 pm
  • Reply Emily Nellist / Babies and Beauty

    I have to admit too, I’ve never gone for mine. It’s been almost two years since I got my letter through and just like you, I’ve not had any reminders or anything. I don’t actually think doctors do enough to let women know the facts around it – the letter was a chance to say ‘Look, you need to get this done because…’ instead it was a simple ‘book an appointment for your smear’ type.

    That being said, I have had a baby in that time and I will be booking mine for next week!

    24th January 2018 at 10:43 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      I am glad you have decided to get it done, it’s crazy that they don’t keep reminding you when it’s obviously so important. Good luck with yours.

      27th January 2018 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply The Squirmy Popple

    Get it done! Honestly, it’s a bit awkward but it’s over in a few minutes. I’ve had loads because I’ve had a lot of abnormal smears that require yet more smears – I haven’t needed treatment yet, but it’s good to keep on top of it. #fortheloveofblog

    24th January 2018 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      I’m going to get it done asap. Thanks so much for commenting.

      27th January 2018 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply Hannah | MakeDo&Push

    Please get it done. It’s so important. I’m the opposite – and very proactive about booking my smear. My toddler came to the last one with me – it’s really not that bad xx

    24th January 2018 at 2:25 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      That’s great that you are so proactive! I am the complete opposite unfortunately.

      27th January 2018 at 3:06 pm
  • Reply Sarah | Digital Motherhood

    This is like I wrote it myself, but I’m a bit older than you. I’m going to do it, I’m going to book in next week. And I’m going to check back and make sure you’ve booked yours!! Lol #KCACOLS

    25th January 2018 at 8:20 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. Let’s encourage each other 🙂

      27th January 2018 at 3:04 pm
  • Reply Lyndsay

    Just get it done, it’s really not that bad and over in two seconds. I’ve had 3 smears and I’m the same age as you, plus IVF where there were a lot of internal examinations that were way more intrusive, just remember the nurses have seen it all before, they aren’t embarrassed, it’s just part of the body, the same as your head or arm to them. Treat yourself to a big piece of cake afterwards, you’ll be eating your cake before you know it! 🙂

    27th January 2018 at 8:44 am
    • Reply mummytodex

      I know you are right Lyndsay, it’s not even that I am that embarrassed, it’s just something I haven’t got round to doing.

      27th January 2018 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply Kelly Edwards

    I really need to book mine, a helpful reminder for me thanks. Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG x

    28th January 2018 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Maria

    You’ll feel so much better once you’ve had it done. I totally forgot to make an appointment for mine before Christmas and then when I did, somehow missed the appointment so I am finally going to go this Friday! #ForTheLoveofBlog

    28th January 2018 at 9:47 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Bets of luck for yours Maria.

      4th February 2018 at 11:32 am
  • Reply Emma Me and B Make Tea

    Just go get it done. it’s just one of these things that you need to do. and you’d regret if you didnt and something were wrong. I’m not a dentist and optician fan either. i worry about them having to do any procedures and will it make me feel sick or be sick (i have a vomit phobia) – but yeah, i’ve always been ok once i’m there and focus on breatihng 🙂 thanks for joining #KCACOLS – come again soon!

    31st January 2018 at 2:02 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Thanks for your advice Emma xx

      4th February 2018 at 11:30 am
  • Reply Laura | Dot Makes 4

    It’s so important, I hope you get it done soon 🙂
    Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time 🙂

    1st February 2018 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes

    You sound similar to me – I rarely go to the doctors, dentist or optician, largely because I have full time caring responsibilities. When my doctor’s surgery closed I didn’t even get around to registering with a new surgery but I know I am due a smear soon so that gives me a reason to register again. I have a person who depends on me, so I must get it done. #KCACOLS

    1st February 2018 at 3:39 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Yes you are right and I hope you find the time to do it.

      4th February 2018 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Dani

    I am so glad you are going to get this sorted. Unfortunately most GPs do not send out reminders so it is down to us to be proactive and book the smear test. I’ve had two in my 32 years on this earth and couldn’t have the third because I too was pregnant with Eco at the time and currently expecting again. Hope it goes well (the proceedure has got better over time). #KCACOLS

    1st February 2018 at 4:18 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      Congratulations on your pregnancy. Eco will make the best big brother!

      4th February 2018 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Bread

    I’ve been avoiding my smear tests but I have at least had a few. They’re not fun though. I’ll go if you do. #kcacols

    1st February 2018 at 8:58 pm
  • Reply Madeline (This Glorious Life)

    Funnily enough, I phoned my doctors this morning and booked myself in for my smear test. I’ve been putting it off for months though, and can’t really explain why. It feels like a weight has been lifted now though, just knowing that I’ve got it booked. x #KCACOLS

    2nd February 2018 at 8:50 pm
    • Reply mummytodex

      I’m so pleased, really hope it all goes well.

      4th February 2018 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Biunka

    Hi
    Did u have your smear ? How did you go ? I am 33 and never had a smear I am not scared of the test i am scared for the results .

    3rd April 2018 at 1:18 am
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