Monday, 22 May 2006


I might have cancer.

I received a letter earlier on today, almost forgot rushing around at work, but now I can't stop thinking about it.

About smear tests from the NHS
"Your recent smear test showed abnormal cell results," it said, signed my GP (who I don't really get on with).

The letter said she's referred me to the local gynecology clinic, but when I called her office, they told me I haven't got a time yet.

Maybe she's just being careful, but I've read up on it, and usually you don't get referred unless the cell changes detected are "serious".

It's funny; I've never really considered my chances of getting cancer as very high. I don't smoke, eat healthily and intermittedly exercise.

I have only ever had unprotected sex with three people; two of them had never had unprotected sex with a woman before and the third was thorougly screened before intercourse. In other words, I don't really see where I'd have gotten the HP virus from if I do have it.

I guess it's not something you think about, really. It's not really dawned on me yet, and I am telling myself there is no need to panic until I know.

Most likely nothing is wrong, and even if something is, it's quite often just left to clear itself up.

When I read the letter, the first thing I though of was my mum. If I were to have to tell her I was seriously ill, I think it would kill her. She lives so far away, and she worries a lot about me, even when I'm healthy.

I'm her favourite, I know it, even though she never says it. Both of my siblings have been quite problematic, and I've always been the one she could rely on.

Strangely, if I was ill, it would almost feel as if I'd failed her.

And J.

He's not feeling very well at the moment; tonight I think all he managed was two episodes of the West Wing, and I'm imagining even that was a bit of an effort.

I don't see how he could support me, he can barely support himself most of the time.

I know that the next few days will be walking along a narrow ledge, occasionally falling off it, each time taking a little longer to climb up, until I know.


  1. I had this same scare 2 years ago, except it was with a mammogram. It may be that this year's test is just different than last year's. Regardless, it's good that you got the test & you're going to a specialist.
    I totally remember my heart dropping & thinking all of the 'what ifs'. People told me not to worry, but I couldn't help it, I still did.
    I hope the tests come back okay & that in hindsight, your worrying wasn't necessary.

  2. Although not a doctor, I can tell you almost for certain you DON'T have cancer and you shouldn't even be thinking along those lines. While there is always the possibility for cancerous cells to be present when you receive such a result, 9 times out of 10, something happened while processing the test and/or you had just gotten your period or were expecting it because the cells of your cervix are always changing. Ask any woman, and most of them will tell you that they've received a similar report to yours at least once. I know I have and if women you know haven't yet, they will. All women experience this, trust me.

  3. I'm another who had the same thing happen, and it was just an anomaly, simple as that.

    Hoping it's the same for you.

  4. I really hope this is nothing Dear, Like the others have been saying, sometimes it's just a fluke. They take them seriously even if they are though, because you can't bet on it being a fluke all the time, but I'm certain you're fine. My mother ended up getting a tumour problem which isn't the same as what you've probably been tested for, but she had to have her uterus and all removed. I hope for the best with you.

  5. I'd be worried too, but that's just a normal reaction but it doesn't necessarily mean it's cancer. My sister had a letter and later, after more tests, they decided to laser them. Luckily since then, it's been fine. Just think about it this way, IF you do have something wrong, then they've been caught at an early stage and something can be done.

    Which reminds me, I need to call about my results.

  6. Blair Bitch is right.

    I AM a doctor (almost), and what's more, I just spent the last three weeks working in the gynaecology department of a hospital in Ireland.

    You DON'T have cancer.

    Let me explain:
    The reason why we screen for cervical cancer through smear-testing is because we can pick up changes that occur in the cells of the cervix that many years down the line, if left untreated, would develop into cancer. It is a successful screening program because these changes are easy to pick up, occur AGES before any cancer develops, and if treated will prevent cancer from ever developing.

    You will probably need to undergo some colposcopy, which involves a doctor looking at the cervix under a microscope, and if there are any changes visible, a biopsy may be taken and sent away for inspection.

    Many women with abnormal smears are found to have a healthy cervix on colposcopy, and just need to undergo slightly more regular surveillance. If there are any more significant changes then some women are treated with laser resection of the abnormal part of the cervix. This is a painless proceedure that takes about 15 minutes. The cells that are abnormal are removed so that there is no chance of them turning into cancer.

    Once again, you do not have cancer, but it is completely understandable that you found this news upsetting. It is your doctor's responsibility to explain these things to you, otherwise it can lead to a whole lot of anxiety.

  7. Thanks for the support everyone; I think I'm especially worried because they're calling me into the actual hospital and it's the third test in a row; I had one at my GP's, went back for a 2nd and now I'm being called back again. I realise it's probably nothing, but still, I caught myself thinking all the 'what ifs', as you say. It makes me feel less hysterical that others have felt the same way, so thanks for advice etc.!


Thanks for not just lurking..

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