Anna found out she had mild cervical abnormalities while travelling abroad in Columbia. She had a colposcopy and punch biopsy there but was unsure whether she had cancer or pre-cancer. She flew back to England and was treated by LLETZ.
Anna always attended for cervical screening. She received one abnormal result and was asked to have another test six months later. This one was normal and, another six months later, in 2008, Anna had another smear test. She then went travelling with her boyfriend. As she had not heard anything from her local surgery, she assumed there had been no problems.
While abroad, Anna read stories about reality TV star Jade Goody’s experience of cervical cancer and felt she should make sure her results were normal. She phoned her doctor’s surgery in England and was told that a letter had been sent to her home address. This letter informed her that she had abnormalities and had been referred to a colposcopy clinic. Because Anna had been travelling, she had not received this letter.
Anna was worried about her results and, while in Columbia, paid to see a consultant. She was given a colposcopy and punch biopsy and, in a following appointment, was given the results. However, she left this consultation unsure whether she had cancer or pre-cancer and said that, as well as worrying about her health at this time, she had also had language barriers to deal with. Anna said that she was going through hell; during those two weeks in Columbia, worrying how serious the problem could be, and the information she found on the internet was frightening and confusing.
Anna typed out the results letter she had been given by the consultant, which was in English, and emailed it to her GP in England. The letter used the term carcinoma in situ;, a term that is very rarely used these days, and Anna said her GP told her that this meant cancer. She and her boyfriend flew back to England, where she saw a consultant at a colposcopy clinic. She told her that she did not have cancer but pre-cancer, and Anna was treated there and then by LLETZ. She was also given a follow-up appointment for six months time.
Anna was disappointed in the information given to her by her GP and, since then, has changed doctor. Because she had been told carcinoma in situ; was cancer, she and her boyfriend had cut short their trip by three months. Back in England, Anna said she was treated very quickly as an out-patient and was happy with the care and information she received.