I know loads of people and I'll be honest I don't know anyone who's life hasn't been touched by cancer in some way, but I still find myself stunned hearing about healthy young people getting the diagnosis no one wants to hear. No surprise then that I was keen to help a blogger pal, Rachel from Life In Geordie Land, spread the word about a brilliant campaign #SmearForSmear.
My bestie will tell you I'm a bit of a smear warrior, I don't think there's any reason not to have it done, so much so I told her off for putting it off, made her make an appointment and went along with her for moral support. I'm pleased to say that was over 10 years ago and she is still my bestie so her result was good and the experience obviously didn't make her hate me!
Reasons Not to Get A Smear
It will hurt - OK Ill grant you it doesn't tickle, but I've now had about 6 and not one has ever caused pain, nurses don't want it to hurt because you wouldnt come back and theyd be defeating their own purpose
Its Embarrassing - Well I'll grant you its not a position I would put myself in down the pub BUT why be embarrassed our lady gardens are having a check up, for a medic thats it no different to having your foot examined after you thought it was wise to dance in bare feet at the club. Itys just another body part to them.
I haven't waxed or shaved - Im sorry but give over no nurse is looking closely enough at your bush while shes doing this to judge you on your topiary skills!
I'm A Virgin - This will make no difference to the result or the procedure, just tell the doctor or nurse and they'll be happy to spend all the time you need to put you at ease and talk you through it.
I Don't Have Time - Im afraid it takes far less time to have a smear every 3 years than it does to have to go through what Rachel and countless more have been through, and those precious 30 minutes you spare for it now, will mean time spent with your loved ones later JUST DO IT
I'm Scared They'll Tell Me Its Bad - I get it, I really really do but if you think theres something wrong you have a better chance of getting things put right the sooner you find out. Hiding wont make the result change, but it will change your chances A LOT!
OK I have waffled enough and I don't need to say any more, you need to read Rachel's story and then make an appointment if you are overdue.
It's the three words everyone hopes they'll never hear… 'You've got cancer'. At the age of 27 I certainly wasn't expecting to be told that devastating news but there I was, in a cold, soulless, sterile room, squeezing my mum's hand as the words the nurse was saying sank in. I had cervical cancer.
That was seven years ago now and thankfully I'm currently healthy and happy, I had to have a radical hysterectomy and five weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy that made me feel horrendous and took away my fertility but I'm pleased to say that my cancer was curable.
More importantly though it's PREVENTABLE!
I may have survived but I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I went through, it's been a physical and emotional roller-coaster, not just for me but for my friends and family too… and I was one of the lucky ones, my cancer was caught early. Sadly some of the girls I met through my experience did not win their fight with cancer and every day around 8 women die from cervical cancer.
That's why I'm speaking up, to encourage all women aged 25+ to attend their cervical screening appointment. A smear really is nothing to worry about, it's no more embarrassing or uncomfortable than a bikini wax and it could save your life! For most women, a letter will land on the doormat within a few days saying that everything is fine and that's it done, no need to go back for another three years. If there are abnormal changes in your cervix then these can be dealt with to prevent cancer from developing. I know life is busy, you've probably got a million and one things to do but please don't delay or ignore your invitation to go for a smear, tell your girlfriends, sisters, mums, friends and daughters how important it is too, screening saves lives, no fear, go smear!
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions for me or Rachel please feel free to leave them in the comments or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and just before I go, don't forget to cop a regular feel of your boobs as well, best to learn how they normally feel so you can spot any oddities early.