Last week, I shared with you 9 need to knows about cervical cancer screening; I hope you had a good read and even if you took away just one small piece of information then it was worth my time writing!
September is officially gynaecological cancer awareness month (image above is me wearing the sweater for the #ladygardencampaign).
This month also saw the launch of GynaeCheck (a new, at home, self sampling device) after research showed that 5 million women are not up to date with their smear tests, and the average woman is 672 days late for her smear test appointment.
Why are women missing their appointments?!
– 75% have had a bad experience
– 69% do not like their lady garden being touched
– 50% struggle to get an appointment
– 14% struggle to get the time off work
– 1 in 4 feel anxious getting undressed
– 80% of women find smear tests painful or uncomfortable
Target 100,000 campaign hopes that the new at home test will help thousands of women to re-engage in cervical screening. After all, 1.1 million women admit that they have NEVER had a smear test! If just 10% of those women use GynaeCheck that will be 100,000 women more engaged in cervical screening’ hence the campaign name, Target 100,000.
If you have time, here’s a short video with some questions and answers from a session I attended with Dr Pixie in August.
Finally, as a follow up to my 9 things you need to know post where I myself tried out the GynaeCheck kit; I sent off my sample on Tuesday 1st September. Today, whilst on the tube to work I got a phone call. When I answered it, the person on the other end of the line told me their name and that they were calling from GynaeHealth. Immediately my mind played back to the talk I’d been at where they said “if there is anything in your results that needs following up, they will call”. She asked if this was a good time to chat and I had to say no as I was on the train about to go underground and I also only had 5% battery. She said she would email me my results and if I needed to talk a telephone number would be in the email.
Well, of course, I started to panic. I got the email but I couldn’t open it. Then my phone battery died. Once I got to work, I whipped out my laptop and downloaded my results (which were sent in a password protected zip file). My results were:
Abnormal, High Risk HPV Subtypes Detected
HPV Type 18 Absent
HPV Type 45 Absent
HPV Type 16 Absent
Other High Risk HPV Type(s) Present
The letter then said: As a consequence we suggest that you need additional specialist advice for the best way to proceed. This will be
based around your particular circumstances. We would suggest that you take advice, ideally from a Consultant
Gynaecologist, or your GP. If needed we can help you with a list of suitably qualified Gynaecologists.
So I got straight on the phone and booked a smear test at my GP’s for a couple days time. My actual smear test was due in December anyway and due to the results of GynaeCheck they are happy to see me early.
At this stage, I’m just not worrying. There’s no point. But it does feel a little surreal. When I agreed to take part in this campaign, I never for one moment considered how I would feel / what I would do or say should the result actually come back as positive.
So, ladies. When was your last smear test? or have you never been?
Early detection saves lives.