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The 'C' Word: come and post your questions about cervical cancer for the experts at Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust

(43 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Oct-10 12:01:07

We do hope you've been following our 'C' Word campaign, which has been raising awareness of the three key cancers which primarily affect women: breast, ovarian, and cervical.

Thanks to everyone who's posted questions so far - do come and browse the breast cancer Q&A, and the ovarian cancer Q&A to see our experts' answers.

Now it's time for our last Q&A thread - this time it's about cervical cancer, in partnership with Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

Cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease - the National Cervical Screening programme now saves some 4,500 lives every year. Nevertheless, eight women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day, and face an uncertain future.

If you're unsure what the symptoms are, are worried about your chances of contracting cervical cancer, or you've been diagnosed and want to know more about treatment, please do post your questions for the experts at Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust here.

Post your questions by the end of Friday please - the team will get the answers back to us as quickly as they possibly can, so do keep an eye out.

Thanks again to everyone who's posted so far - and to the four fabulous charities who have taken part: Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action, and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

I'd like to ask how much a risk there is of getting cervical cancer because I take tamoxifen

MeganMog Tue 19-Oct-10 15:21:32

I was found to have CIN2 cells several years ago shortly after 2 clear cervical smears, (I was referred as had abnormal bleeding). I had treatment, and I now have annual smears, but am concerned that as the smears didn't pick up the CIN2 before, that they may not again. The consultant did say that the virus type was a slow variety, which is something. Is just having regular smears sufficient?

If cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, why can't men be vaccinated instead of women? It seems wrong to make it women's responsibility, we already have childbirth and in the majority of cases, contraception to worry about.

readinginsteadnowisundeadnow Tue 19-Oct-10 17:45:01

What should I be doing to help myself, other than having a smear when its due?

snowmash Tue 19-Oct-10 17:58:38

As a disabled woman, what alternative positions can you ask to have a smear in, and where can I find good information on them to give to professionals?

[I haven't had as many smears as I should because education on this seems to vary]

maresedotes Tue 19-Oct-10 19:41:46

Why aren't women allowed to have a smear test before they are 25? If a woman is sexually active from 16 she will have to wait 9 years before having one. I read that it was unadvisable to have one before 25 as it would "do more harm than good" - can anyone explain that to me please? Thank you.

BelaLugosiISDED Tue 19-Oct-10 20:38:35

Minutes from the government committee meeting where the evidence for not screening the under 25s is reviewed. It's a useful document to read to understand the reasons why.

Reading: Risk of developing CIN can be cut by stopping smoking as it appears to slow down the body from getting rid of the HPV infection.

SnowmasH: Resource pack for sample takers. If you've found that certain positions are easier then perhaps make an appointment to discuss it beforehand rather than having to go through it at the time? It could also be worth seeing if you could be seen in colposcopy as the staff are used to seeing people who perhaps need a different position.

Meganmog: sometimes if there's a small area of CIN then it may not be picked on a smear test. Annual screening for 10 years as part of your follow up means that there is a far greater chance of another small lesion being detected. It does grow very slowly so the annual tests should be fine.

MaryAnne: as someone who works in cervical screening, tamoxifen isn't something that we've had flagged up to us as being associated with a higher risk of developing cervical cancer.

BelaLugosiISDED Tue 19-Oct-10 20:42:40

Useful links for cervical screening information:

NHS Cervical screening homepage
about screening
Videos
Leaflets in different languages. Also sign language DVD available and braille.
Colposcopy society website with useful information about abnormal tests, investgation (colposcopy) and treatment

frenchbulldog Tue 19-Oct-10 22:41:24

Do spermicides kill any or all of the HPV viruses? Especially if used with barrier contraception such as a condom?

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 19-Oct-10 22:44:56

I had CIN 2 cells 2 years ago, after always having completely normal smears. I have been with my husband for 10 years, and neither of us has strayed (he swears!) so how could I have suddenly developed HPV?? Is it possible that either of us could have had the virus for so long, or should I be doubting his claims of fidelity?

BelaLugosiISDED Wed 20-Oct-10 07:22:00

HPV is as bit like chicken pox, you can catch it from non-sexual contact and it can hang around for years.
Most people have had HPV at some point in their lives and most clear the infection. In some the body doesn't clear the infection as well. Its thought to take at least 10 years for CIN to develop so an abnormal smear test doesn't mean (necessarily) a recent HPV infection.

Frenchbulldog: not to my knowledge, it is known that barrier contraception does not prevent HPV transmission because it is spread by skin to skin contact.

CMOTdibbler Wed 20-Oct-10 08:10:00

Don't you think the information about radiotherapy and Brachytherapy on your website should be up to date ?

Do you think that young women should be made aware of just how much smoking increases their risk of having cervical cancer ?

frenchbulldog Wed 20-Oct-10 10:43:31

So holding hands can give you cervical cancer?

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Oct-10 13:01:53

Hello. Please can we remind you that this a thread for you to post questions for the experts at Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

In other words, following the format of the other Q&As in our C Word campaign, this is a thread for questions - and we'll publish the experts' answers later.

We don't want to stop discussion, of course, but we think it's probably best to wait and let the experts answer the questions - rather than try to answer each other's questions for ourselves.

MIssAnneThrope Wed 20-Oct-10 14:21:53

Hello
How do the current NHS levels of screening for cervical cancer compare with other countries? In other words, should we be screened more regularly, and earlier age-wise than the NHS currently screens?

starbellysneetch Wed 20-Oct-10 14:27:52

Thanks very much for this.

I'd like to know if there is any connection between breast cancer and cervical cancer. I have a history of breast cancer in my family (not strong enough to get more frequent screening) - does this put me at higher risk of cervical cancer?

And to what extent does the number of partners one has had earlier in life impact on one's chances of developing cervical cancer post-35?

sarls Wed 20-Oct-10 14:33:47

Hi
I just wanted to find out why girls have to have the HPV jab so young? Is it not a bit too young?

BelaLugosiISDED Wed 20-Oct-10 14:35:40

Hi Helenmumsnet
Can I ask what the backgrounds are of the people at Jo's Trust who will be answering the questions? Are they medical, work in screening or health education, as its quite interesting to know their specialities. Thanks

Kentmumma Wed 20-Oct-10 14:36:56

Hi

I have recently been experiencing some bleeding after intercourse and wondered if this should give me cause for concern. My last smear, two years ago, was normal as were the ones before that so that's a good sign ...... isn't it ?

champagnesupernova Wed 20-Oct-10 14:51:21

Hi there
I know all about making sure I have regular smears - even though I DREAD them but what else can I be doing to prevent cervical cancer?

shantishanti Wed 20-Oct-10 15:01:39

I always thought that if I had regular smears it would stop me getting cervical cancer, but it didn't...and I've been wondering ever since why.

I had a clear smear, then my next routine one three years later picked up moderate changes, so I was referred for a colposcopy. By the time the appointment came round I realised I was pregnant so the consultant just monitored me throughout my pregnancy. He thought they were moderate changes, nothing to get too worried about.

But it turned out when I went back for treatment after having my baby that I had cancer.

So my question is, can pregnancy speed up the growth of cervical cancer? Or is there any other reason why it might have happened so quickly?

I was 30 at the time, non smoker, in relationship for 12 years, totally faithful confused

Unwind Wed 20-Oct-10 15:17:13

Is the risk associated with HPV taught to boys and girls in sex ed classes nowadays?

It certainly wasn't in my young day. We were taught that condoms would protect against STDs.

Unwind Wed 20-Oct-10 15:30:45

If I am allowed another question, surely testing for HPV, rather than such frequent smears ought to be an option?

Smears are horrible experiences for many women, perhaps especially for those who may have birth trauma. I know that the HPV test process for women is much the same as the standard smear, but I understand that it needs to be done much less often.

A high proportion of women over 35 are never have sex (>25%). Of those who are, they are often in long-term monogamous relationships, with someone that they trust. If you do not believe that you at any risk of catching HPV, surely testing in case you've already caught it, and then testing again 5 years later, if there has been some chance of exposure, would be a better use of resources, and would minimise the stress caused to those women who are at very low risk.

Perhaps men could be included in regular HPV testing, so they know if there is a risk of them passing it on.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 20-Oct-10 16:11:50

BellaLugosiISDED: Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK's only charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer.

You can find out more about them - and their experts here

And you can find their website here

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