I was sitting at Olivia’s swimming lesson, reading through some articles when I came across a piece titled The Silence Could Kill You by Catherine Russell. It stopped me in my tracks;
“At 22 my doctor told me to go to the clinic and have a Pap test. I did. It came back abnormal with the recommendation that I should come back in six months.
I didn’t. I repeat. I did not follow the advice of health professionals. Or the advertising calls on the back of public toilet doors to have regular Pap tests. I didn’t talk about it with my gal pals or the people in my life because you didn’t talk about things like that.”
I got a few more paragraphs into the story and immediately, without hesitation, called my doctor and booked in for a pap smear ASAP. Like most women, I was a year overdue for one.
According to Cancer Council Australia, there were 869 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in Australia in 2012. The risk of a woman being diagnosed by age 85 is 1 in 152.
In 2013, there were 224 deaths caused by cervical cancer in Australia. Cervical cancer death rates in Australia have halved since the National Cervical Screening Program began in 1991.
How often do Australian women currently get screened?
- 61% of Australian women in the target age group are screened every two years.
- Around 26% of women Australian women with normal Pap results have early re-screening, more often than the recommended two years.
- Up to 12% of Australian women have never been screened for cervical cancer.
- Around 60% of Australian women in Indigenous Communities are not screened every two years.
Look. No one likes pap tests. You have to prepare like you are having sex for the first time with a really hot guy. Except there is no hot guy, candles and happy endings. It’s more of a latex glove, here is a sheet to cover you, not the happy kind of breast fondling, type situation. But you HAVE TO DO IT.
I have THE best Doctor on the planet. Dr W makes the most awkward encounters as painless as possible. I discovered that I have bladder prolapse (so THAT’S why I keep peeing myself) an awesome reward for pushing out Olivia. Now I have to “squeeze like you are trying to stop two fingers coming out” Thanks for the exercise tip Doc.
Of course I still have to wait until the test results come back but I took the most important step which was getting.it.done. You need to too. CALL YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT NOW. I will wait. I’ll even play hold music for you. Just do it.
Some of the most common signs that there MAY be a problem include:
- vaginal bleeding between periods
- menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual
- bleeding after intercourse
- pain during intercourse
- unusual vaginal discharge
- vaginal bleeding after menopause
- excessive tiredness
- leg pain or swelling
- low back pain.
If you experience any of those, get to your Doctor ASAP and get checked out.