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My Cancer Scare When The Smear Test Came Back Positive
Two years back I experienced the type of heart wrenching panic when you hear news you’re not expecting.
I’d turned 25 years old and so the obligatory cervical smear loomed. The nurse was fantastic and put me at straight at ease. I looked healthy, the test would come back clear and everything would go on as normal.
There was no other possibility in my mind either. Getting to the age where you have smears was, for me, focused on the embarrassment on the day rather than the test results afterwards.
The results of my smear test
Unfortunately they instead found that I had fairly severe dysplasia of the cells on my cervix (CIN 3), the results indicated that I needed to be seen urgently and was referred to the hospital for a colposcopy within 2 weeks.
Hearing this news was shocking to say the least. My parents were equally worried which frightened me more.
The thought that I could possibly have cancer or be so close to having cancer was awful. Not knowing really where to turn to I scoured the net which both healed and intensified my worries.
The colposcopy involved a more detailed look at my cervix as well as snipping a small chunk from my cervix to be inspected further under the microscope.
The procedure confirmed that I did indeed have CIN 3 caused by HPV and was recommended for the LLETZ procedure.
The LLETZ treatment
LLETZ, or large loop excision of the transformation zone uses a small wire loop and an electrical current running through it to cut away the affected area of tissue and seal the wound at the same time.
I was put under local anaesthetic for the procedure and warned that I would need a follow up treatment to double check all of the CIN3 had been cut away.
My follow up check brought me some good news – I finally had the all clear.
The serious and evasive nature of my procedure left me with a sizeable hole in my cervix.
LLETZ treatments in general increase the risk of miscarriage when trying for a baby and so this is something I’ve had to come to terms with.
However, I’m extremely lucky. I was tested and treated before it could develop to cancer.
I’ve since had the all clear on my yearly smear tests and it has made me care for my body and myself much more.
Breaking the smear test stigma
Smear tests have an odd place in conversation between 20 somethings I feel.
We might mention them in passing, but never in detail and certainly not if there’s been any form of unfavourable result.
Perhaps it’s because smear tests are still so new to us in our 20’s? Or perhaps we are embarrassed by how abnormal results are caused – HPV?
All the same, I want to share my experience to shout out about the importance of having your smear test and to show support to any young woman who may be frantically be searching the net for hope… just like I did when I found out my results.
Check out Jo’s trust at https://www.jostrust.org.uk/ for more information of cervical cancer. It’s a brilliant, easy to understand and friendly source that goes into the detail of each stage of your smear, colposcopy and LLETZ.