I sort of struggled with the introduction to this post. I started it about three times, and just couldn’t find the words! ! But I knew that irrespective of that, I had to write this post! (Isn’t it interesting how that in itself became the intro!?)

Don’t laugh, or think “how could she not!”. But I’d never heard of a cervical screening till pretty recently and possibly as a result of moving to the UK. I guess that’s definitely one plus about living in these parts. There’s so much handy information about. (Not quite sure if that makes up for the cold though! Brrrrr).

So how did I then hear of it?

Letters! Personal letters addressed to me with words similar to “now that you’re over 25, it is advised that you attend the cervical screening test at your local hospital”. I read up the letters thinking I really should get this thing done. But procrastination and the ever available excuse of “work is really busy at the moment” kept getting in the way!

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to be a responsible adult woman (now aged 28) and schedule my screening. Because whether those excuses are true or not, our health is really important.

I was also really curious about how the entire session would go, and here are the three highlights!

1. Too Much (Scary) Information?

I know doctors and nurses have a responsibility to educate us on whatever procedure is being done as well as the possible outcomes, options and statistics. But at some point in the 15 minute conversation, I began to feel like surely this is too much information for a routine test? The nurse definitely went on in detail about how many women are affected by cervical cancer and how it’s more common than people think. She also explained how a small brushlike device is used to pick up some cells which are then examined under a microscope for any irregularities. I started to feel a bit overwhelmed and thought, ‘can we just get it over & done with?’

2. The Actual Poke…

Judging by the nurse’s words and the thought of an instrument being used down there, I really did think this was going to be painful! And I was mentally thinking of happy distracting thoughts. But it wasn’t! It was pretty much a quick poke (about 3 seconds) and out. I may have a high threshold for pain (physical and not emotional. Emotional pain makes me cry!) but I’m pretty sure most people will agree that this isn’t painful. So if that’s what’s keeping you, fear not. Get your screening done today!

3. Child-birth Thoughts!

Well, here’s the final thing! It’s probably the position we have to adopt for the screening, but it sure did make me think of the entire process of childbirth. And if you have not gone through this process before, it might make you think about it too! We can only hope that the level of pain is similar to the screening… aka none existent!

Update: I had my first child in October 2017. You can read my birth story here. It was definitely way different from a cervical screening!

Ok that’s how my experience went.

Now to some basic facts:

-Cervical screening is not a test for diagnosing cervical cancer, but rather to check the health of the cervix which is the lower part of the womb.

-The screening also tests for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – a pretty common virus which if left untreated could lead to cervical cancer.

-The HPV has no symptoms and can be transmitted during sex.

-Cervical screening does not pick up every abnormality of the cervix but is able to prevent 75% of cervical cancers.

-Screening shouldn’t be done during periods, so plan properly. It also typically needs to be done every three years so you can tick that off your to-do list for 2017 and not have to get it done again till 2020 – which seems so far away right now!

I hope this helps to demystify the concept of cervical screening. I appreciate I got lots of reminders for what was technically a free service and it’s probably much harder for people who have to pay for this and are not reminded of it.

But please, do make an effort to find out how you can get this done. In the UK, it’s free for people ages 25 – 64, but there’s been a recent petition for the lower limit of the applicable age group to be 18.

So if you’re over 18, you should be checking!

January is cervical screening awareness month, so voila – my bit is done! Get screened ladies.

If you’ve had one done, how was your experience? If you haven’t, why (we won’t judge you!)

Love,

Kachee…xX

pS: And just out of curiosity – what’s the most intrusive medical test you’ve had to do? A friend had to have a rectal examination as part of a job interview. He didn’t find it funny that it was carried out by a pretty female doctor who he would ordinarily have asked out for a drink, had they met in better circumstances! After such intrusion, he couldn’t summon up the courage to see her again! That’s funny!

Read too: Some more girl-talk – how and why to check your breasts + helpful images. And FYI, why we celebrate International Women’s Day!


26 COMMENTS

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26 Comments

  1. RuthsTravel:Because I Believe

    January 18, 2017 at 10:57

    😁 I love, love this post because I can relate as a female and especially because I’m currently on O&G rotations. AGAIN. It’s a GREAT DEAL what women go through; even when it’s a physiological process. I’d leave it at that and join you in believing for the “no pain, no complicated” child delivery process. I actually support all the information she gave you btw😁 Personally, it’s a challenge when it comes to being touched so almost every form of examination ranging from superficial palpations, ultrasound examinations to anything more internal, feels like a violation of my person 😂 but I agree with you, the most intrusive was getting swabbed for routine and diagnostic tests😢😢 it was quick but felt like minutes for me. When I was given some “huha” medications, I couldn’t go through with it. Not even the price of the drugs motivated me,(deep sigh).I feel for the guy that had to have the rectal exams. I can only imagine.I’m happy for the number of people that are more aware or just aware of the cervical screening process.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 18, 2017 at 17:29

      See eh Ruth, Women are absolutely super heros. I cannot even emphasise that enough. And good to know that my info was not way too off! And I’m glad more people are definitely being aware of these!

      Reply
  2. Debs

    January 18, 2017 at 11:37

    Wow, so I’m actually going to open up that place bare, consciously, to a stranger. Well, I may just have to as my health is in question. My most intrusive medical test was getting an Xray done back as an undergraduate. I really can’t remember what it was called then but it’s part of the checklist to be ticked before you are accepted as a student. And the doctor told us we have to take off our clothes so the results can be accurate. I was really embarrassed although my mammary gland was just growing then, but who cares, it was like my entire life is in public!

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 18, 2017 at 17:27

      Hahahahaaha. That’s not so bad Debs! We all had to do that. I know that at that point and all growing up, we definitely felt like it was being all intrusive.

      Reply
  3. Mercy

    January 18, 2017 at 13:42

    LMAO! @ the pain of screening being similar to childbirth! *zips mouth shut*I had my first screening done after the birth of my son so I wasn’t nervous about them poking about down there. Oh and I agree about the information overload on the day. I did thorough research beforehand so I kinda zoned out and just nodded at the end lol! No but really they need to give all that info, very important. Hmm..I can’t think of anything more intrusive than all the poking and prodding during childbirth. Hahah! Good God…xwww.immeiko.com

    Reply
    • RuthsTravel:Because I Believe

      January 18, 2017 at 14:45

      I agree with you on the poking and prodding. I’m not close to having a baby but I learn about this during rotations and witness it in the hospital from time to time. Someday I’d go through this and most likely, carry out the procedure on someone else. For now, I still cringe sometimes and catch myself making a fist to my chest when my teachers or other doctors are carrying out bimanual exams or checking for cervical dilatation and all of that 😩http://becauseibelieveblog….

      Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 18, 2017 at 16:49

      Please Meiko don’t scare us biko! LolI have to agree with you – that has to be the most intrusive of all. Thank God it’s for a good cause!

      Reply
  4. A girl called

    January 18, 2017 at 13:47

    Medical checkup on the female cervix is very important as cancer of the cervix is one of the dangerous cancer *Not like there’s no dangerous cancer tho* but it’s actually advisable for women that are sexually active to do a Pap smear and get started on the vaccine and if not sexually active you can jump straight to the vaccine taking. I do plan on getting checked asap. Thanks for this post.

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 18, 2017 at 17:26

      You’re welcome! It’s definitely really important. God keep us all in good health, while we play our part.

      Reply
  5. Oluwatoceen!

    January 18, 2017 at 16:19

    amazing post! i had the opportunity to have the screening back then in school but I didnt, procastination won! Its funny how we medical people do not like to take screenings and even medications. My mum is tired of complaining but oh well…leme run off before all my secrets come out of hiding. Well done Kachee.p.s In case you ever decide to do a course or summit on how to write beautifully like you, please Zikora is here to attend.https://thatinternist.wordp

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 18, 2017 at 17:25

      You health people though!I’ll join your mum to complain oh.pS: Haahahaha. Thank you babe. I’ll keep that in mind.

      Reply
  6. Oyindamola Abbatty

    January 18, 2017 at 16:53

    I have indeed….it wasn’t so bad. Although a bit painful but it was like a quick pain. I’ve also had a breast lump checked by a male doctor. I know I shouldn’t but I kept wondering if he was having impure thoughts while prodding my mammary glands. Maybe I was just being paranoid. Or maybe he really was. I guess we’ll never know.The Yoruba Chic Blog

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 18, 2017 at 17:24

      Yeah, it’s just a really quick pain!We will choose to believe that he was definitely not thinking anything unethical and outside his scope of work!

      Reply
      • Oyindamola Abbatty

        January 19, 2017 at 07:47

        Hahaha…yeah that’s what we’ll choose. I was 19 then though, stuff like that really mattered to me. I’m surprised you just recently heard about cervical screening…how come? I’ve been hearing about it for the past 3 years. It’s good you wrote this post, it means there must be plenty more people who don’t know about it.

        Reply
        • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

          January 19, 2017 at 08:39

          I can imagine! Well I guess it’s been about 2 and a half years I heard about it and understood it in detail. I always heard the word ‘pap smear’ thrown around but didnt really know details.

          Reply
  7. Endaline

    January 19, 2017 at 18:24

    I’ve always had it in mind, but my best friend, procrastination, won’t let me. I’ll definitely try to do it….this year.

    Reply
  8. Tamie

    January 19, 2017 at 19:08

    LolHaven’t had mine yet. Chuck it to medical people making the worst patients/health clients. I haven’t had a lot intrusive medical exams. I would say a chest X-ray so far has been the most intrusive. (Done that 3times)

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 20, 2017 at 08:12

      Dr!! Lol. You know what to do. Funny I’ve only had a chest X-ray once as an adult!

      Reply
  9. Kachee || KacheeTee.com

    January 20, 2017 at 08:12

    Please try! It’s so easy to procrastinate on these things (I did too!) but better to just get it over and done with! Xx

    Reply
  10. @ilola

    January 22, 2017 at 14:02

    I got the opoortunity to get the cervical screening done at an event 3 years ago, but the doctor didn’t do it for me because she said it couldn’t be done on virgins. I guess it’s time for me to try again.DESTINATION WEDDING BLUES – FAMZING WITH CROCODILES AND HORSES

    Reply
  11. Tamie

    January 23, 2017 at 07:49

    I blame all those schools/jobs that insist on chest X-ray’s for admission medicals.

    Reply
  12. Funke Olotu

    January 25, 2017 at 17:58

    I haven’t had mine yet but I will soon, i’m not sure that i will be scared because I am a microbiology student and i know about these things but i guess i wont be able to tell until i’m on the chairhttps://funkeolotu.com/

    Reply
  13. Berry Dakara

    January 26, 2017 at 02:11

    *le sigh* American healthcare is such a disaster.Going somewhere to sulk because of the nonexistence of free anything healthcare here.www.berrydakara.com

    Reply
    • Kachee || KacheeTee.com

      January 26, 2017 at 18:03

      In fact. I feel your pain. God dey!

      Reply
  14. Bababi

    January 29, 2017 at 17:10

    Okay, i want to start by saying that the awareness for cervical cancer…or cancer in general…is not only prevalent in the UK. There have always been many awareness campaigns in Nigeria. Well, the hospitals dont make it their duty to send emails out to people but in some way or the other, people get educated on cancer (how to get screened and treated).So i first heard about the scary details of cancer years ago but to get screened was even scarier (1. I just didnt want to know the result, 2. I thought it would be ridiculously expensive). When i was in the UK (2012-2014) i got mails to come in for cervical cancer screening but i didn’t go because i wasnt sexually active. But last year, i lost a dear friend to breast cancer so I decided to go get screened on breast and cervical cancer. I was amazed to find out that the screening is quite affordable (free every friday, cost only N2,500 any other day).People, please get screened. I was screened by a female doctor so i felt comfortable….and it wasnt painful.

    Reply
  15. mosimi20

    February 4, 2017 at 18:01

    I did try to have one while I was studying in the UK but the Doctor said I wasn’t old enough to have it. Apparently, I needed to be 25 to have the cervical screening. Sadly, I am still not old enough to get one. I tried to do a breast screening in Nigeria, let’s just say that would be the last time I would ever undergo such in Nigeria. He was quite non-chalant about and I was put off. I eventually did it in the UK and happy with the way he tried me and all.www.eattechtravel.com

    Reply

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