Thinking about my cervical screening experience, I believe I have had 4 tests starting when I was 21 and I remember being encouraged to do so by a GP at the time.
Now, I always get a letter in the mail about my Cervical Screening Test when it's due so I don’t have to worry about forgetting to book my next appointment.
How did you feel during your first cervical screen?
I don’t believe I really understood what the test would be like before I got one, possibly I was told but I remember being nervous. Before I had one, I remember hearing they used a ‘duck beak shaped device’ to hold my vagina open to “scrape” a sample from inside me.
I remember being scared it was going to really hurt after hearing this, especially after hearing the word “scrape”. I remember having my first one and thinking, “oh okay, it's not painful, just uncomfortable” and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I did not even feel the part where they collect the sample from inside me.
What’s your advice to other people about to have their first cervical screen?
I think it’s one of those things we can build up in our minds because it’s awkward and can feel uncomfortable, but if you have a doctor who you like and trust, it is a painless procedure and is over so quickly.
You can’t put a price on the peace of mind it gives you when you get your results back. To have this quick test that we only have to get once every 5 years that tells us whether or not we have cervical cancer is amazing!
Choosing a test provider
I have had multiple GPs provide my cervical screening over the years as I moved around and did not have a permanent doctor. The doctor I have chosen to visit regularly now is female, gentle and empathetic.
Cancer Council have a directory of cervical screening providers across Victoria, visit cancervic.org.au/at-your-cervix to book your test.