…I think the only way to start this post is by saying a MASSIVE thank you!
Thank you to everyone who has read my blog and shared it on Facebook/Twitter, and an even bigger thank you to everyone for their lovely messages of support. I didn’t really know what to expect when I decided to share it with the world but I can honestly say that, so far, it’s been a very positive experience. If you’ve shared it for me on Facebook or Twitter and I haven’t thanked you personally then please accept my apologies – I’ve been trying to keep up with it as much as possible but fear I might have missed some when I’ve been at work.
After publishing the blog last night I’ve had a lot of people sharing similar experiences with me, which once again shows me just how common abnormal results can be, and I have also heard from people who have already made a step to book their tests. That is exactly what I hoped would happen. If I know that it’s encouraged even one person to get tested then I feel like I’ve done what I set out to do.
I also wanted to use this post to tell you a little more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. This is a European wide initiative intended to provide information and raise awareness. In 2010, 20% of women in the UK did not take up their invitation for cervical screening. There might be lots of different reasons for this – maybe it’s an embarrassment or an inconvenience. I will admit that I was one of those people who did not accept my invitation for screening. It was something I always thought I’d get round to but just never did. It wasn’t a big importance for me but perhaps if I was more aware of the screening programme and its benefits I might have been more inclined to make that appointment.
The focus of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2013 includes raising the awareness of exactly how the screening programme might help to prevent cancer, as well as looking at the symptoms and emphasising the importance of early detection.
Cervical cancer is one of those diseases that can be present with or without symptoms but there can be some common signs. Things like;
- abnormal bleeding
- post menopausal bleeding
- unusual discharge
- discomfort/pain during sex
- lower back pain
That being said, early stage cervical cancer can quite often not have any symptoms at all. I personally did not experience any of these, which is why screening is so important for that early detection. I will say that I had a gut feeling about how my results would come back, and I wish I could explain how I knew but I guess it’s just a case of knowing and listening to your own body. Please don’t just wait for these symptoms to appear. Take advantage of the opportunity to get tested and catch any changes as early as possible. The earlier you do, the easier it should be to treat.
If any of you would like some further information, the charity Jo’s Trust has a great website. Take a look.