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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)
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 have a question. My boyfriend of one and a half years recently developed genital warts I have not had any symptoms but wonder if i have the HPV virus also. I had borderline changes in my smear two years ago before I met him and have had had normal smears since then . My Doctor said I need another smear test and A HPV test to see if I have been infected and to see it is a high risk strain , so I have had a smear and am waiting for the results .I was then told by the lab that do the test smears they only test for HPV if the smear shows borderline changes and that the local hospital near me is not doing it till July this year as they do not have the machine for testing the HPV in till then. I know that hospitals in the rest of the country are doing it now and if I do have borderline changes I will have to then wait another six months to see if it has gone back to normal before I may get the test . Also the fact I have more than likely have been exposed to the virus should warrant A HPV test. I am very upset and worried and do not know what to do. I know the test can be done privet but it is very expensive and I do not have the money to do that or I Would. Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Just to let you all know that Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust have now sent their answers back to us - we've put them up over here.
Thanks again to everyone who posted questions.
Thanks very much for your questions and comments. We're going to close the thread to new questions now, to allow the experts at Jo's Trust to get on with answering these. We'll post here to let you know when the answers are up.
Thanks also for all the responses to all the C Word threads this month - we hope you've found it useful and informative.
Some years ago, my smear test revealed bad cells. Immediately, the docs were gagging to lazer them. I said hang on a minute what are the repercussions? They listed the factors - e.g. bleeding, no sex for at least a month... and having just acquired a very hunky and desireable boyf, I wasn't keen. They then said, Well, it might get better on its own anyway.
However, I took action and looked up in my health bible, the fascinating and brilliant 'Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine' by the wonderful, sadly now deceased Dr Thomas Bartram. He suggested the use of Thuja tincture drops taken in water twice a day. Thuja is a shrub found in many English gardens, and is well-known in herbal medicine as a remedy for all sorts of complaints, particularly cervical cancer.
After that initial scare, I was tested frequently. Every time I have squamous cells in my tests, I dose myself with thuja and the problem disappears.
I was cured of Graves Disease, auto-immune thyrotoxicosis, by herbal medicine and a strict diet. My GP was amazed that I made such a swift recovery, but refused the details of my regime. (I thought he might suggest them to other sufferers) It's very disappointing that NHS doctors are determined not to open their minds to that very efficacious alternative, cheap and with has no side-effects - unlike Carbimazole, the drug meted out for hyperthyroidism, which I couldn't take because it killed off my white blood cells.
I'm also interested that thyroid problems seem massively on the increase. I thought my illness might have been caused by pesticide exposure as I live next to fields, regularly sprayed. Sure enough,in a recent newsletter, the Pesticide Exposure Information Service (PEX)revealed that a long-term study, since 1994, in the U.S., involving 89,000 participants, concluded that certain pesticides and fungicides cause thyroid disease particularly in women. The potatoes in the adjacent field were being sprayed frequently with fungicide the summer I'm sure I was exposed; shortly after, I began feeling the symptoms of Graves.
Also, in France, because of crop spraying, Parkinsons Disease is now regarded as an occupational hazard for farmers. Leukemia is another one.
Significantly due to the efforts of our own Georgina Downs, who was awarded Campaigner of the Year, the EU has directed agricultural spraying legislation which our government, due to NFU lobbying, refuses to accept.
Another scandal: Sweet Stevia, a herb widely used by diabetics, is sweeter than sugar but contains none. Monsanto coerced the US govt to ban it because it was reducing the sales of their artificial sweetners. It's now very difficult to get in this country.
Hi My family have a history of breast cancer, I'm the only female in my entire famliy (and there's lots of us!) who does not carry the gene, should I worry about cervical cancer as I know there is a link. I have several very small fybroids and feel fine overall x
i had pre cancerous cells removed at 21 and have been having yearly smears since. i changed my doctor last year and they said i was on three yearly smears again now. do you think this is right? i'm 37 now
It's always worried me when we are given a smear which comes back 'normal' and then three years later, we have the next. Surely if 6 months after a normal result smear test is given your cells begin to change, you are then in serious danger of developing cancer and even dying because of it. Why are smears done three years apart? surely doing them every 12 months or even 18 months would save many more lives?
sorry if I sound thick
I had cin 3 nearly 4 years ago, my smears since have been clear since treatment - is it only the hpv virus that causes this then?
If so is it from my husband, should he be tested in any way.... and can I do anything to minimise my risks of it returning? I am only 31 and am scared they may put me back to 3 years or I'll forget a smear and something awful will happen.
Sorry this is specific to me but I'm worried!
I am 21. Because of post-sex bleeding I went to the Drs and he said I have cervical erosion. He did a smear test as well.
Have found out, on internet, (I know I shouldn't have googled)that cervical erosion can lead to cervical cancer. Dismissed this, thinking I'm too young.
Anyway results from the Dr have come back inconclusive and they need me to do another smear test ASAP. What the hell does inconclusive mean? Did something go wrong with the test or do they need to double check or is something wrong?
I have had two children via fertility treatment but have never had sex with a man. I had a clear smear test after my first child and plan to have another when it is next due. My question is - if that is clear, do I ever need bother again? (no more kids planned, am faithful to female partner!). Or should I be tested for hpv instead?
Sorry the qu is so specific to me but I've been wondering for some time. Thanks
I have had two children via fertility treatment but have never had sex with a man. I had a clear smear test after my first child and plan to have another when it is next due. My question is - if that is clear, do I ever need bother again? (no more kids planned, am faithful to female partner!).
Sorry the qu is so specific to me but I've been wondering for some time. Thanks
I had laser treatment to get rid of abnormal cells when I was about 25, I am now 45, and have had clear smear tests since. But can the infection come back again, or would I have to be reinfected? Is there any point in being vaccinated as an adult? (I am single)
I had 2 LLETZ treatments for CIN3 and a hysterectomy last summer. My most recent colposcopy was fine, last one due next spring.
But, what happens if the dodgy cells start creeping back again now my cervix has gone? Would I end up with vaginal cancer .
I was going to ask my consultant next time I see him but would be interested to know sooner rather than later.
FWIW I first had sex at 22, 2 partners, regular smears and CIN3 at age 30. In theory I was very low risk but am now on first name terms with the gynea team at the hospital.
Just spent a while reading your website, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. What an inspiration Jo was and her late husband too.
Anyway, like a couple of the previous posters, I too worry a little about smear tests. I'd always got the all-clear at regular smear tests, but when I did get an abnormal result, the precancerous cells were fairly advance (CIN III). My doctor said it would have taken several years to get to that stage, so why wasn't this picked up at an earlier smear? Or can changes occur more quickly?
I don't mean to sound ungrateful at all - in fact, I'm massively grateful that the changes were picked up, the abnormal cells removed and I've had the all-clear ever since. But is there anything else I can do, except have a smear every three years?
Couple of questions for the panel:
1. Do they favour HPV test as the primary screen, do they think it is useful as triage for low grade abnormalities and for test of cure?
2. Should there be an education campaign to increase public awareness of:
- what screening versus a diagnostic test is;
- the limitations of screening;
- the successes of the NHS CSP and how that influences policy decisions such as age at first/last screening and screening intervals
- what to do if they have symptoms that could be associated with cervical cancer (i.e. what investigations they should be able to expect to happen)
- What abnormal results mean (especially borderline changes)
- what treatment they can have and who to talk about their treatment
I'm 48. Ten years ago, I had CIN II which was only found on colonoscopy having had smears showing no abnormality or mild dyskariosis. I had laser to the cervix and then for two years or so, had more frequent smear tests. Then I joined the normal review which I believe is 3 years?
I am sceptical of smear tests. My question is, if I went for 2 years with nothing much showing, then leapt to CINII (and I read the bit about small lesions not always showing on smears) how do I know that all is GENUINELY Ok. I've been having irregular bleeding and have a dull ache constantly on my left lower abdomen. My smear of 6 months ago was normal but, I've been there before. I don't trust them!!
Thanks Helenmumsnet for posting that reminder, as the poster trying to give information didn't answer my question.
Thanks for the link - I wanted to check if there is someone from a screening lab on the panel, which there is.
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.
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.
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
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?
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 ?
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