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To join a Welsh GP in order to get smear

(81 Posts)
99problems Tue 02-Apr-13 11:50:17

Not sure if this is even possible, but I am considering joining a Welsh GP practice so I am eligible for a smear test. I'm 23, in the age group that were too old for the cervical cancer jab and too young for smears. I know all the arguments about why women under 25 are not routinely offered smear tests but I believe it really comes down to budget.

A colleague, the same age as me, has recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her doctor told her living in Wales has probably saved her life as the cancer wouldn't have been detected had she lived 10 minutes away in England. She had no symptoms whatsoever. I work in Wales so joining a practice there would be practical and closer to work.

My mum needed treatment for an abnormal smear at a similar age to me, so I really am anxious about having a test. I enquired into having it done privately and was quoted £300! No way I can afford that.

So WIBU? As I said I'm not even sure if it would make me eligible as I'm not Welsh.

MorganLeFey Tue 02-Apr-13 21:06:18

littleducks=*...your GP must be allowed to do one, for example of you had worrying symptoms?*

Littleducks - it's a screening test (so a test for picking up early changes in people who do not yet have symptoms) NOT a test for people having symptoms. If you had worrying symptoms & a GP just did a smear it could well come back clear & something have still been missed - most pathways for worrying symptoms will involve referral & tests like colposcopy.

Screening programmes are about population level risk/benefits/cost effectiveness not each individual or people who have symptoms...

macdoodle Tue 02-Apr-13 21:13:54

Unfortunately the NHS is not a bottomless pit that can provide for everyones "wants", it has to try and provide for the majority's "needs" (which it is currently unable to do).
I am sorry you are so anxious, and suspect this needs addressing far more than any smear needs doing.
GP's cannot do this as and when they want for any reason, including symptoms. Smears are not good for diagnosing "symptoms" and a different set of symptoms would be needed.
I am in Wales and smears not done according to the central database are just chucked out, so this is not something your/or another GP can decide on an individual basis.

macdoodle Tue 02-Apr-13 21:14:52

different set of TESTS

macdoodle Tue 02-Apr-13 21:15:42

Also for as long as I have been a doctor, you are not allowed to mix private and NHS, so if you decide to "go private" then you stay private.

dayshiftdoris Tue 02-Apr-13 22:01:27

They just return them untested 99

As MacDoodle says symptoms should be investigated in a much more robust manner than just taking a smear... a referral to gynae and then perhaps a colposcopy would be much better.

99problems Tue 02-Apr-13 23:22:39

Thanks for your replies.

Regarding my anxiety - I was very concerned a few years ago largely due to the 'Jade Goody effect'. Spoke to GP who reassured me that it was pretty much unheard of to get CC under 25. I now work with another 23 year old on a daily basis who has just gone off work to have an op in the hope it will save her life. I think my anxiety is understandable sad

I work in a college in Wales, and everyday see the posters everywhere reminding girls younger than me to go and get a smear. It's such a preventable disease, which is why I think it should be available.

Going on MacDoodle's post it seems the NHS are basing this decision largely on cost. Because as an earlier poster said if the worry was regarding unnecessary treatment surely women found to have abnormal cells could be closely monitored as opposed to treated if they are under 25. I find this whole situation very worrying.

macdoodle Tue 02-Apr-13 23:28:07

Did you read my link or any of the others posted? or did you just choose to ignore them?

pinkstinks Tue 02-Apr-13 23:33:19

Hi 99 I'm in the same position as you. I am 24 and have been having sypmtoms on and off for two years. I was sexually active at 14. Noone will give a smear test, one Dr's said they would after a consult and age, then I too half a day annual leave, turned up and they refused to do it. I have been to three gp's re my issues. Resigned myself to waiting a long time ago.

99problems Tue 02-Apr-13 23:52:12

macdoodle I read... that's why I said if the worry was regarding unnecessary treatment surely women found to have abnormal cells could be closely monitored as opposed to treated if they are under 25.

And why is it Wales, Scotland (although I hear this may soon change) still screen from 20? And most other European countries? If the evidence was so strong, surely 25 would be the standard?

pinkstinks if you click on link above it says you can get tested 6 months before your 25th birthday, this may help?

Peppermintcrumb Tue 02-Apr-13 23:52:49

Pinkstinks, if you are having symptoms then a smear test is of no use to you. Cervical screening is for women without symptoms.

As so many posts have said, screening women under 25 is not routinely done because of the amount of false positives caused by an immature cervix. Do you really want a smear test to come back with abnormal cells and have your cervix burned for no good reason?

Cervical cancer is extremely rare for every woman - less than 1% lifetime risk - let it go, you don't have cancer. Your friend probably has a few abnormal cells - this is NOT cancer - even if the cells are left, it doesn't mean that they WILL turn into cancer. Even if a women has CIN III cells it doesn't mean the cells will become cancer. Doctors don't know which cells will become cancer and which will clear up on their own - so all rogue cells get zapped.

macdoodle Tue 02-Apr-13 23:54:17

A smear test is not a good diagnostic test for abnormal symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, pain on intercourse, discharge etc. If you have symptoms such as this your GP will investigate you in more appropriate ways. Don't go in demanding a smear test, go and explain your symptoms. A smear is NOT appropriate in this case.

AnyFucker Tue 02-Apr-13 23:56:29

Thanks mac and pepper for your knowledge, freely given.

PagingDrFaggot Wed 03-Apr-13 00:01:20

You defiantly do not need to live in Wales to register with a GP surgery in Wales . I lived until last year on the south Wales borders and although I lived 100 yards into England my GP was in Wales .

99problems Wed 03-Apr-13 00:08:26

It seems I have no choice but to let it go. My friend is having a hysterectomy, she definitely has cervical cancer sad.

Peppermintcrumb Wed 03-Apr-13 00:13:18

I see know why you are so upset. I apologise for making assumptions about your friend. sad

Peppermintcrumb Wed 03-Apr-13 00:13:45


99problems Wed 03-Apr-13 00:19:20

Don't worry peppermint I'm greatly for all the advice on here I really am. I know there is a miniscule chance of me having anything like what my friend is going through but I'd rather have piece of mind. If I could go private for a reasonable price I would. I might look into health insurance and see if there are any options there.

littleducks Wed 03-Apr-13 10:11:19

Morgan- thanks for that, it makes sense that it should be done under the care of a gynaecologist

i also had my first smear when i became sa, i was 20 and have had them every 3 years since (im 31 now). i was living in england at the time... am now in wales but still continue to have them. 2001-2008 was in england

i personally dont understand the age thing and why they choose not to do them. i think as soon as you start having sex, you should get them

PrettyFlyForAWifi Wed 03-Apr-13 15:23:59

You should contact Jo's Trust - they have a helpline as well
You have all the facts and the rationale for not offering smear tests to under 25s in England, you know that the real risk to you is not great, but your anxiety is persisting beyond what you know to be fact. You need to ask yourself how much peace of mind a smear test would really give you - would it really reassure you or would your mind then go looking for the next health anxiety? If you think that this is a possibility then speak to your GP. So sorry to hear about your friend.

99problems Wed 03-Apr-13 23:20:07

Thank you PrettyFly.

Don't know if that link works but a doctor has basically summarised that even in the case of a false positive result, a colposcopy would filter out most false positives from true ones, along with the lack of evidence suggesting that women go on to have fertility issues after treatment.

Jan49 Thu 04-Apr-13 00:51:41

When I was either 25 or 26 (late 1980s) I had a smear test which showed slightly abnormal cells. I was told to come back in 6 months for another smear. The same happened after the second smear, just told to come back in 6 months. After the third smear, still showing a slight abnormality but not enough to be investigated further, I got very worried. I have a history of other cancers in my family. I was also being told to avoid getting pregnant even though nothing was being done other than waiting 6 months for another smear and at that point we'd been thinking of trying for a baby. I asked to be referred somewhere and I was referred to a hospital and given a colposcopy and then given the 'all clear'. Some years later I was told that these abnormalities would nowadays be seen as normal at that age, so the smears caused me and my partner a lot of unnecessary stress. I think the problem of 'normal abnormalities' showing up in smears of young women are the reason why they are no longer offered to under 25s.

trashcanjunkie Thu 04-Apr-13 01:03:10

is it worth mentioning that Jade Goody had problems for years before hand with abnormal bleeding? I know it's really scary worrying about these things, but it is really unusual to develop cc so young. I'm really sorry your friend is having a hysterectomy, I know what it's like, as I actually had one for cc in 2010. I had light bleeding in between my periods, and went for a full sexual health screen and smear. My sh results came back clear and my smear showed 'severe dyskariosis' which then was further investigated and dealt with accordingly.

PrettyFlyForAWifi Thu 04-Apr-13 08:33:14

99problems, I'm not sure why you are giving more credence to a Facebook group than you are to the national guidelines which are firmly evidence based.
Colposcopy is not akin to having a blood test, as this Facebook doctor contends. It is invasive, uncomfortable and carries risks of infection.
I'm not going to argue the toss with you, you have some excellent resources to look at but if you prefer Facebook conspiracy theorists then that's up to you. Otherwise, get saving for your private smear or consider private HPV vaccination.

sashh Thu 04-Apr-13 08:53:52

is it worth mentioning that Jade Goody had problems for years before hand with abnormal bleeding?

And an abnormal smear that she ignored for years.


How will you have 'peace of mind' if you get a

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