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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.

Welovegrapes Fri 05-Apr-13 08:05:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

saintmerryweather Fri 05-Apr-13 07:49:44

You doctor and whoever said you cant mix and match private and nhs care is talking bollocks link here

Jan49 Fri 05-Apr-13 03:02:26

OP, why don't you just get a smear done privately? I think someone here mentioned it's possible for around £80. The chances are it will come back showing you're fine and that will put your mind at rest. If it shows slight abnormalities and you are advised to have another smear in 6 months, you'll be in the same position you'd have been in if the NHS had agreed to do the first smear and you can pay for a second in 6 months. Worse possibility, a smear shows abnormalities that need immediate treatment and then you'd have a more difficult situation, but would your NHS doctor know if you'd had a smear done privately? Perhaps in those unlikely circumstances you could - ahem - find a way of getting some checks done through your GP by mentioning you had some symptoms rather than admitting you'd had a smear done privately? Nope, I didn't say that. wink

Alternatively, just accept that you are being a bit unreasonable. You might have work colleagues or friends of your age who have other medical issues and you could worry about all sorts of possible problems but it doesn't follow that you will have them. Your mum may have had the kind of 'normal' abnormalities that wouldn't be investigated nowadays.

dayshiftdoris Fri 05-Apr-13 01:26:46


Ok so that doctor is saying what I said god knows how many posts back...

That some experts are saying screen but to watch and wait when abnormalities are detected... thats with colpscopy.

So you put thousands of healthy women through a costly and comfortable procedure in order to watch for her cervix to mature whilst older women with abnormal smears which can not be an immature cervical cell wait their turn?

There are only so many colposcopy suites and doctors trained to do them. It costs about £300 for just a colpscopy - times that by the thousands that would need it x the number of times across the years... Millions of pounds spent looking at what are healthy cervix 99% of the time (considering that the risk of cancer is generally less than 1% in that age group).

Thats without treatment because some doctors might treat and then in turn you have the link to premature labour (but you are right NOT necessarily to fertility issues), the costs of that to maternity services and neonatal care... not to mention the heartache.

It makes no sense to do it. The World Health Organisation dont believe women under 25 should be screened yet the Welsh NHS have decided to interpret evidence differently to the WHO - the international research hub for healthcare...

Jade Goody had had abnormal bleeding for a number of years and an abnormal smear she did not act on... her smear was done, I believe as part of investigations for the bleeding not routine screening. The lack of screening in that age group was nothing to do with it as her 'early changes' were picked up effectively by investigation of her symptoms...

The fact she developed cancer is actually irrelevant to cervical screening - why? Because ANY women with abnormal bleeding should have thorough investigations - a previously normal smear should never be a reassurance that you are ok... it's a snapshot of the cervix at that point in time NOT an insurance policy.

What anger ME is the lack of scrutiny - the Welsh NHS are spending against recommendation of the WHO and who is questioning them?

trashcanjunkie Thu 04-Apr-13 13:13:36

colposcopies are not the nicest! Unless you've been told you need one, they are best avoided. Also op if you look at the statistics for cervical cancer survival rates, they are only improving! Doctors are getting things right, there's no conspiracy here. If you want to avoid the worry of cc, do all the things you should be doing, such as not smoking, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet including fresh fruit and veg. Also you can have full sexual health screening at NHS gum clinics anywhere in the uk, and discuss your worries with them. And practice safe sex. Hope that helps!

99problems Thu 04-Apr-13 10:29:22

I didn't include that link to argue, I get I was hoping for reassurance and one of the other posters with more knowledge than me could put the doctor's statement into perspective for me. Because it was contradicting some of the other info, guidelines etc. I'm not medically trained and I don't know anything about colposcopys, so thank you for making it clear that they are more invasive than a blood test.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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


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

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.

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 .

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

Thanks mac and pepper for your knowledge, freely given.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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