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About smear test

(67 Posts)
elegangle Thu 23-Jun-16 13:58:09

Last week my GP reminded me that I was late (very late) for my smear test.

So I've just gone and had it done but the nurse said it may not be tested as I had not received a call up letter. I told her that I did but it was a while ago (2 years) and I did not receive any reminders other than the initial call up letter. She said that as I was now out of synch with my every 3 year call ups and it is a whole year before the next one is due they may refuse to test it.

Surely this is ridiculous. I can understand that they may not do it early if you have turned up to all your call ups but I haven't had one for five years.

AIBU to think that it is daft to try and make me wait another year or has the nurse got this all wrong?

TheFlyingFauxPas Thu 23-Jun-16 14:07:29

YANBU to think that would be incredibly daft of them.
YABVU to be 2 years late for one. Everyone hates them. I hate them and have delayed in the past.
I recently accompanied my nervous niece for her first ever at the age they start doing them these days. I then had to accompany her (she couldn't get hold of anyone else) for a very urgent call back appointment where C was mentioned sad

She is now fine after some pretty hairy treatment.


Love xx Hope all is ok [flowers}

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:08:45

That makes no sense. People must get out of the 3 year cycle all the time, for various reasons. Having babies, moving away temporarily, medical reasons etc.

katand2kits Thu 23-Jun-16 14:10:21

I have just had an overdue (18 months) smear test done. I did not need the letter. I just phoned up the doctors and booked it, and it was fine. It will be on the "system" that you have not had one, you will not be mistaken for someone who is trying to get an extra one.

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 23-Jun-16 14:13:02

Well this sort of happened to me but I had a reminder letter only a year after my last one, went anyway because I'm hardly going to turn down a test for my own health, but then got a letter from the lab saying they wouldn't test the results because it was less than two years since my last - very annoying!

In your case it's more than two years since your last so they should definitely test.

LetsSplashMummy Thu 23-Jun-16 14:13:47

That's ridiculous, I was tested just before TTC with just a two year gap in case I fell pregnant straight away and people have extra ones all the time for things like bleeding between periods.

I think the nurse has got it wrong - surely - she probably just needs to get a doctor to approve the sample labels or something. I would call the surgery and ask your GP to call you back to discuss it. You won't be wasting their time - not compared to an untested sample and calling you back to repeat everything.

FuzzyOwl Thu 23-Jun-16 14:14:18

I am out of the three year cycle because I got my BFP a week before my reminder letter, so my smear will be almost a year late. I really think lots of women must be in a similar situation, so they must be used to it.

Babysafari Thu 23-Jun-16 14:15:31

Yanbu but she might be right. A bit different but I asked for a smear because I was getting irregular bleeding and was told there was no point the lab would throw it as I wasn't due one (I now understand a smear wasn't necessary for me anyway).

Surely in your case the surgery can communicate with the lab?

Imnotaslimjim Thu 23-Jun-16 14:16:31

I had one done 12 months after my last as I had intermittent bleeding and other symptoms. The nurse did have to add a note that it was for particular symptoms though as she said otherwise it wouldn't be checked.

As to you being late, while you're "out of synch" surely that can't mean they won't test it. If it's more than 3 years since your last, it should be tested.

branofthemist Thu 23-Jun-16 14:17:10

It's an odd one. I had some problems with my periods and my GP wanted me to have a smear. It was 6 months early and. The nurse told me the same.

Even though it was requested by the doctor for a problem that developed since my last smear, they could refuse to test it as I was to early. The nurse was pretty annoyed by it and didn't agree with it. But she wanted me to be aware that could happen just incase.

U2HasTheEdge Thu 23-Jun-16 14:18:11


YABVU to be 2 years late for one. Everyone hates them.

No, she isn't unreasonable to be two years late for one.

BorisIsBack Thu 23-Jun-16 14:20:47

I've been late for smear tests before due to working overseas. Never not had them tested though even when Iisded the reminder letter by 18 months.

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:21:07

I know my local labs were reorganised and the tests are sent to a larger lab further away. They are strict about not processing tests inside the 3 year cycle, which is fair enough. There are other pathways that should be taken for suspect bleeding etc and it is not for diagnosing things.

However, there is no reason to refuse to process a test because it is longer that 3 years confused. Surely they just process it then recall you in another 3 years.

PennyMcPink Thu 23-Jun-16 14:23:09

Smear tests are such a relic of the past, I'm surprised they are carried out as routine now that science has advanced to the point where they are unnecessary in in vast majority of cases.

You can only develop cervical cancer if:

1) You test positive for HPV
2) The strain of HPV you have tested positive for is one of the high risk ones (typically 16 or 18, but there are a handful of others)
3) Your body doesn't clear the infection within a 2/3 year time frame.

If the answer to all of the above is 'yes', then a smear test may be indicated. Colposcopy better though.

So much ignorance, unnecessary smear testing and worry, not to mention pregnancy loss due to unnecessary LLETZ/LEEP procedures.

Cancers would be caught at a much earlier stage if we switched to annual HPV testing as standard and then only proceeding to smear testing if were indicated.

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:23:10

*YABVU to be 2 years late for one. Everyone hates them.

No, she isn't unreasonable to be two years late for one*

Better to have one that not - even two years late. I sure the lab will be fine with it and the nurse has got mixed up with people that want one inside the 3 year cycle.

PennyMcPink Thu 23-Jun-16 14:24:31

n.b. GP surgery funding is dependent on what percentage of eligible women attend for smears - little wonder they are so aggressively pushed...

milliemolliemou Thu 23-Jun-16 14:26:00

I hate them so much I haven't been for a decade. I know I may regret it. Is there no other way of testing than that revolting procedure? Is anyone investigating one that doesn't involve painful expanding forceps? Quite frankly I'd prefer to be under a GA.

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:29:05

Penny - it takes time to reorganise. A lot of people will not be required in cytology jobs and more will be required in virology. It is a much bigger change than moving over the liquid based tests.

They are already using HPV as triage, so that they treat fewer people unnecessarily. They trial things first and then move over as quickly as possible once it has proven to be better.

PennyMcPink Thu 23-Jun-16 14:29:58

Yes, HPV testing is via urine sample...

Negative HPV test = 0% risk of Cervical Cancer.

Cervical cancer is pretty rare though, you'd have to screen 1000 women for 35 years to prevent a single death from it.

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:31:20

millie - I think DIY testing is even being considered in the future.

PennyMcPink Thu 23-Jun-16 14:31:52

Cherylene True, it just makes my blood boil when I hear of GP's surgeries trying to frighten women with nonsense just to ensure they hit their targets and maintain their funding.

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:40:09

I hate women being railroaded into it too.

I think we have a very good screening programme and they do seem to be very keen on keeping it up to date and working well and make it as accurate as possible. I have been reading about the changes that are in the pipeline which look good (and incidentally make it cheaper, so I am sure the changes will happen quickly!)

But people need to understand and make up their own minds. It is a screening programme and is not infallible and should not be ruling your life. But we also need to know when to make the most of it.

AdjustableWench Thu 23-Jun-16 14:43:45

Cancers would be caught at a much earlier stage if we switched to annual HPV testing as standard and then only proceeding to smear testing if were indicated.

Very interesting. Is it possible to request a test for HPV? Would the GP / practice nurse do it? Or perhaps a sexual health clinic?

Cherylene Thu 23-Jun-16 14:53:47

You could possibly do it yourself eventually, like the bowel cancer screening tests. I expect it will be nurses to start with.

U2HasTheEdge Thu 23-Jun-16 15:04:42

Agrees with everything penny says.

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