In 2002 I became a little concerned that I had been having periods, without much of a break, for around 8 weeks. For me, this was very abnormal as my periods had always been incredibly regular, so I made an appointment to see a doctor.
At my appointment I explained what was going on to the female doctor, confident she would be understanding, but unfortunately she wasn’t. What came out of her mouth in response to my explanation still rings in my ears 12 years later.
‘What do you want me to do about it?’
This was not asked out of care or concern, it was asked intimating that I was wasting her time. I was completely taken aback and stupidly just accepted her poor care…how I wish now I had insisted she had sent me for a smear test.
One year later I was invited for a smear and that was when the cancer was found. I am not saying that if the doctor had sent me for a smear in 2002 the outcome would have been any different, but it might have been. I might not have had to have surgery and I might have been able to have more children…I will never know.
As Cervical Screening Awareness Week begins, there are two things I want to impress on you:
1. Go for your smear…I know it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing, but the consequences of not going can be far worse.
2. If you are having irregular periods (please don’t panic, not all irregular periods indicate cervical changes) please go to your doctor and if they try to brush it off please, PLEASE insist on a smear…God knows I wish I had.
I am very lucky that 12 years down the line I am here and healthy, but I am more than aware that everyone who has cervical cancer will not be so lucky.
We are so very fortunate to have access to cervical screening, so please, please, please ladies, don’t miss your appointment.
p.s. I am not trying to vilify all doctors, the vast majority are caring and very helpful.