Interview 19

Age at interview: 31
Age at diagnosis: 31
Brief Outline: Abnormal smear 2000. Referred to colposcopy clinic 2001. No abnormal cervical cells found. No treatment needed.
Background: Professional; single, no children.

More about me...


Her cervical screening test was uncomfortable but not painful and she believes if you want to be sure you are...


If I could say anything to encourage a woman to go and have their first cervical smear it would be that it would be a compromising situation, put your legs up there and think of something else just for a couple of minutes. It's slightly uncomfortable, there's a metal instrument that is inserted in you, it's merely to keep your vagina open but that it's necessary so that the test can be done. And it's uncomfortable but it doesn't really hurt and so it's just one of those things that if you want to be sure you're well you've just got to do it.


Speaking to a health professional reassured her that waiting for 6 months for a repeat test would...


Yes I went for my regular smear and then I was sent a letter saying that it had come back with a minor irregularity, there were pamphlets and they were explaining everything about it and reassuring notes along the lines of "This, occasionally this happens, it doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong but we recommend that you have another smear in 6 months and if the abnormality is still there then to seek further advice." And so I went for the second smear 6 months later.

You did, you waited 6 months?

I waited 6 months yes. Well I made some calls at the time and I discovered that really if anything were to develop it would, the advice I got was that with the kind of abnormality that I had and sorry I can't remember exactly what it was called but with the kind of abnormality that I had it would take a number of years for it to develop into anything that couldn't have anything done about it which I found very reassuring and so I, I was able to rest assured that waiting 6 months wasn't going to put me in any jeopardy, or that's how I felt given the advice that I'd been passed, had been passed to me


She found it useful to see the speculum used during cervical screening.


I remember one of my very first smear tests, I think it was about my second one I hadn't really paid attention the first time round, I was just deeply embarrassed and uncomfortable the first time I had a cervical smear and around the second time I went or the third whoever it was that was giving me the smear test actually showed me the speculum. And I remember looking at it and thinking it's like a double shoe horn or something, it's quite a remarkable piece of instrumentation. And actually seeing it did make a difference for me because I understood really what it was doing. It was opening up the walls so that a proper scraping could be taken and it did actually help to see it and I don't know why they can't make them out of plastic but, but it did help to see.


She felt very anxious waiting for her colposcopy appointment.


The first 6 month wait was quite concerning to me because may be I'm a hypochondriac but I just had all these other things going on that made me think that something was going to be wrong. The second 6 months was a little bit worse but not unbearable. My feeling about the second wait really was that if the doctors, if my doctor or the system that follows up on cervical smears felt that there was anything more urgent that I would probably be being dealt with faster. And certainly when I rang to re-make my appointment with the colposcopy clinic having missed the first one due to mail mix up they, I do recall in that conversation commenting it's taken so long I don't want to wait another couple of months. And reassuring voice saying that the length of time the appointment had been set for was an indication that the feeling of, the feeling towards my particular circumstances were that you know there was nothing to panic about. So everybody has been very reassuring along the way but it strangely hasn't made too much of a difference to the way I've been feeling about things and I was worried going into it.

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