I've blogged before about my cervix, the cheeky so-and-so, and as the Target 100,000 campaign launches today, I thought I'd tell its little story once again! This is a sponsored post, but all views are genuine and my own.
Back when I was 18 I had my first smear test (the rules were different back then, they still believed it was best to start 3 years after you had sex), and in my 20s I had abnormal cells detected. As the cells were just stage 1 misbehaving, they just get monitored. Most often than not they just sort themselves out, so no treatment is offered at this stage. Just a close eye is kept on them.
My cells continued to stomp their feet, and I needed to have them removed. Due to some past complications I had this done under general anaesthetic but this isn't usual. Once my cervix had been lasered clean, I was still kept under strict observation. Visits back at the hospital every 6 months. I was kept at the hospital as they do a pimped up version of a smear, squirting some liquid onto my cervix which enabled them to get a better look.
Anyhoo, I've since gone back to 3 yearly check-ups, my cervix is officially happy once again. The whole experience made me feel amazingly grateful for cervical smears. Its a screening programme that catches cells that could potentially become cancerous, before they actually do. How freaking amazing is that? We don't need to wait for them to become cancer before getting rid of them. Genius.
I've blogged before my top 10 tips for a happy smear test but did you know that 75% of women say they've had a bad smear experience, and that apparently the average UK woman is 672 days late for her smear test? The Target 100,000 campaign aims to reach out to the 1 million women who don't have their smear test at all, and get them re-engaged with the process. They've set themselves the target to get 10% of these ladies checking their health of their cervix.
GynaeHealth are a private company, offering a new service, that may encourage certain women to get their cervixes checked, and I tried their at-home 3-second cervical health check this month.
I took my sample at home, and sent it off in the post. I received an email letter back from them with my results. I'm currently HPV free - woohoo! HPV is a virus that causes over 99% of cervical cancers, but most of us will carry it at some point with no symptoms at all. I used to test positive for HPV (which would have caused my abnormal cells), but my body has since cleared the virus.
Ladies, the critical message here is that we have access to a screening programme that allows us to spot any potential nasty cells and get rid of them. If you are one of the million women not engaging with your cervix to check how happy it is down there, get your sensible head back on, and join in. You have access to our NHS service, and now a private, at home option with GynaeHealth. Come on ladies!