Cervical abnormalities: CIN3 and CGIN

Perceptions and experiences of health care

Many of the women we interviewed were happy with the care they received from doctors and nurses because they’d been informative, sensitive and approachable. Some said they were pleased and relieved to be treated quickly on the National Health Service (NHS) and that the short wait for colposcopy or treatment had been reassuring. They were also happy with the information they were given by hospital doctors. A few women praised the information and support they’d been given by their GP.

Women we interviewed appreciated being able to ask questions before, during or after colposcopy and treatment, and felt it was important that the doctor had time to answer their queries or explain the procedures. Some said the staff were caring and reassuring during procedures and this had helped them to feel at ease when they had often felt vulnerable.

 
Some of the women we talked to praised the care, empathy and support they got from nurses, especially during procedures, for example holding their hand or distracting them from the procedure by talking to them. A few said the atmosphere during appointments was calm, relaxed and light-hearted and this made them feel less anxious. One woman praised the nurse at her local surgery, who’d had CIN3 herself and was able to tell her both about the physical and emotional effects of CIN3. Understanding the emotional effects of CIN / CGIN was very important to women. A few said their GP had been particularly good because he or she had understood the emotional impact of being diagnosed with CIN / CGIN and had been able to offer support outside the hospital setting.

Some of the women we interviewed, though, felt their care could have been better. They would have liked more information from doctors in clear, non-medical terms about their diagnosis, planned treatments and what to expect after treatment. They felt the lack of information had made their experience more difficult. Two women said that it was only when they read their results letter that they found out they’d had a cone biopsy. Gillian was very disappointed in the care she was given and changed to another consultant.
Emma had a LLETZ under general anaesthetic. She thought she might have cervical cancer as well as CIN3 and that she would find out after surgery. When she spoke to her consultant, though, he told her there had never been any chance of her having cancer.
Some women who would have liked more information felt they should have been recommended reliable websites by their doctor or nurse. Women were particularly interested in information on CIN, CGIN, treatments, healing after treatment, follow-up care, pregnancy, and recurrence (see Information’).
Sam, who changed to another doctor, also wanted more information, especially about why she needed several colposcopies but wasn’t being treated. She was 21 at the time and felt her new consultant took time to explain procedures while he did them and she could watch on the screen.
Some of the women we talked to were disappointed because they felt doctors hadn’t appreciated the emotional effects of CIN / CGIN, including what it felt like for women to have an abnormal result and to be waiting for colposcopy or treatment. Several thought that some doctors could show more sensitivity, be less matter of fact, and should try to put themselves in their patient’s shoes.
Several women felt their appointments had been rushed and they were disappointed that they couldn’t ask questions at the end. A few said that each woman should be treated as an individual. One woman said the very busy clinic felt ‘like a cattle market’. Another said she felt like ‘a piece of meat’. Emma said she felt ‘like a cervix, not a person’. A few women wondered if female consultants were more understanding and approachable than male doctors. A couple of women said that there were students present during the procedure and, because the doctors were talking to the students, they felt slightly ignored.

Last reviewed May 2014.

Last updated May 2014.

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