time for a pap smear?

Pap Test…Smear Test…Not to be Ignored

So, if we asked what were your thoughts on PAPs, your head would go straight to flashing cameras rushing after celebrities right? Invasion of space? Well, the kind of PAPs we want to promote invade a much more important space and are essential to you and your health.

The Papanicolaou test, also known as the smear test (Who even called it that……we vote it needs a new name…) is an essential test that allows healthcare professionals to make an assessment of the cervix. The little elusive cervix. We all know it’s there, not exactly sure where (everyone’s slightly different), but it’s there. That little Cheerio like thing, bobbing happily around at the top of your vagina, patiently waiting to do its thing. Unfortunately, sometimes the thing it chooses to do isn’t quite what we wanted or expected.

Smear Test

Enter the infamous smear test. It takes seconds and is very much a ‘lie back and think of the greater good’ kind of situation. The nurse or doctor doing the test doesn’t care if you’ve waxed or shaved, doesn’t care if your knickers are fancy, for them it is work, business and for them, each and every test they do they know that they are potentially saving lives. We absolutely promise you that if you see them in Tesco a few days later, they won’t remember what your vagina looks like or what shape your pubic hair was trimmed into. Slightly less scary now huh?

Let’s walk you through it. You go into the clinic room, take your bottom halves off, get on to the couch, cover yourself the best you can with a bit of blue paper and “assume the position”. Feet together, knees bent and apart. Some people say yoga pose, some people say frog’s legs, either way, it’s legs akimbo. Now the next bit is the most important, the more relaxed you are the more comfortable it will be.

So breathe.

Literally just breathe and every time you breathe out, relax your body, let your muscles go floppy.

It will be over in seconds.

They pop a plastic speculum in (think of a duck beak) to open the vagina then a little brush is used to get the cells from the cervix. It’s like tickling. It doesn’t hurt, it is not painful, it just feels really weird. And that’s it. Literally it. It is done, they send it off and you wait for your results.

1 in 20

1 in 20 women who have a smear will come back with a result that says there is some changes to the cervix. These changes NEED to be looked into. Changes mean cell growth, cell development, abnormal cells appearing, the whole point of a smear is to try and catch things before they develop further. Early treatment is everything. Cell growth doesn’t always mean the big C. It just means there’s change happening.

Think of it a bit like that text to say your parcel is being delivered, just as you reach work for a long day. If you are quick enough you can rearrange the delivery and disaster can be diverted. If you do nothing, you return home to that little card, and the inevitable mission to retrieve your precious things from the arse end of nowhere at the back of an industrial estate in office hours when you work full time. This is your opportunity to take control of your body, get the checks done that you are entitled to have and could potentially save a life. If you book yours and make a friend book theirs, who then makes a friend book theirs too, you might actually save a life. That’s a pretty awesome thing to do by just inspiring and encouraging and then laying back and thinking of the greater good……

Cervical cancer is real. Its most common in sexually active women aged 30 – 45 but it can affect ANYONE. Book your test for the middle of your cycle. Make your friend, your sister, your mum, a fellow Kitten book one too. Everyone over the age of 25 is eligible. Take control.

You use a condom to protect yourself, why wouldn’t you have a smear too?