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Smear - laboratory refusing to process test

(11 Posts)
freelancegirl Thu 13-Aug-15 20:23:39

Just received a letter from my doctor's surgery that the laboratory has declined to process the sample for my recent smear test. I am well over 25 so it's not an age thing. I have had laser treatment for severe dyskaryosis in the past and have been told to have annual smear tests. But the letter says I cannot have a test until March 2017. How can it even be possible that I can have a test and the laboratory refuse to process the sample?!

It caused me great distress to have that test so I am pretty fuming. I am breastfeeding a 7-month-old baby so everything is a bit dry down there and it was really painful and uncomfortable. Plus I had to take time off work and balance work, a toddler and a baby to get to the docs. It took me ages to get an appointment I could make!

A smear is a test for pre-cancerous cells; for signs of cancer. Where is their judgment? No-one comes to have a smear test for fun. Grrr.

Anyone else had this? What, if anything, can I do?

I am assuming that the samples taken are now not possible to test but I DO want a test so will have to try get another one and make sure the lab test it. I could cry.

pinkfrocks Thu 13-Aug-15 21:19:45

Take it up with your Gp / Practice. if they did the smear they ought to know who will process it and when. If you have to have annual smears this ought to have surely been shown on the paperwork to the lab?

You can have private smears at lots of places like private hospitals, Marie Stopes clinics and some private labs. You will have to pay of course and it ought not to be necessary but just so you know you have that option.

twirlypoo Thu 13-Aug-15 21:28:25

I sort of had this!

Also have severe dyskariosis and treatment and was on yearly smears. I had my ds, had a smear and was put back on 3 yearly. During this i swopped doctors who had the original notes that I was on yearly so sent me out a letter requesting I attended.

With me so far?! I turned up for smear appointment and explained above to nurse who called the lab to check when I was due - apparently they wouldn't process it at their end despite it being sent, if it wasn't due and I had been asked to appointment in error. Lab basically said no need to go ahead and I would get recall again on the proper 3 yearly dating.

Does that all make sense?! I hope so! Nurse explained that when biopsy was done I would have been tested for hpv virus and if none present then research has shown safe to be put back on 3 yearly smears after dyskariosis treatment.

If I'm honest, I was more reassured when having annual checks, but nurse said if I ever had symptoms again they could do an ad hoc test outside of the schedule above, it just had to be needed rather than routine.

freelancegirl Thu 13-Aug-15 23:33:11

I think that's a similar thing that has happened to me twirly. I have also just had another baby, 7 months old, but haven't changed doctors. I wish they had told me that before I had the bloody smear! I've written them a stern letter. I do still want a test though. Maybe I should consider private as you said pink frocks but yes it's a pain to have to pay.

What do they mean have symptoms? I thought there were no symptoms with that sort of thing.

twirlypoo Thu 13-Aug-15 23:42:57

Could you request one because you are worrying about it? So on mental health grounds rather than physical if you see what I mean? Not that I think you should have to, but I'm just wondering if that would tick a box for
Them meaning you wouldn't have to pay to go private?

Symptom wise, I had a smear which came back clear in the easter. Started having bleeding after sex and stomach cramps in the September - consistently enough to get my to goto the doctors. I had to fight a bit for the smear but results were back within a week that I had severe dyskariosis. It was a bit of a concern that I had had a clear smear so recently, which is why I'm so paranoid now - because if I had left it another 2.5 years till my smear was actually due then I could have been in real bother. It makes me a tad paranoid now I must admit!

pinkfrocks Fri 14-Aug-15 07:41:48

FWIW I've paid for private smears for over 25 years. Reason being that at my ripe old age now, when I was younger smears were only done every 5 years and I thought this wasn't enough (now they are every 3 years for younger women but still every 5 years for women my age)

The cost- around £50 once every 3 years - was insignificant TBH and it was worth it for peace of mind.

Sidge Fri 14-Aug-15 07:57:05

The lab will only process them if you have been called by the cervical screening programme.

The surgery shouldn't have taken the sample if you weren't due and hadn't been invited by letter.

The recall programme has been fine tuned over the last couple of years and fewer women are on yearly recalls now. If no evidence of high risk HPV in your last sample and it was borderline or normal then you would go back to 3 yearly smears, so if you attended after a year without being called then the lab wouldn't process it.

if symptomatic such as bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex or an unusual pain or discharge then a GP should refer you to gynaecology. You still wouldn't have a smear at the GP surgery as a smear is a screening tool and not a diagnostic procedure. Gynae may well take a sample of cells with a biopsy but an opportunistic smear by your practice nurse is unlikely to be processed in that scenario as if clinically indicated it would need to come from gynae.

Of course if you want more frequent smears then you can go private. It can cost around £80-150.

pinkfrocks Fri 14-Aug-15 08:19:08

you can have smear done privately for much less than that. The most I've ever paid is £80 and that was at a top private hospital in central London. Locally, fees are more like £50.

Sidge Fri 14-Aug-15 10:08:44

Must depend where you are pinkfrocks! All I know is our local private hospital charges £150 (which I think is outrageous). I'm sure if you search around it can be much cheaper but I've never needed to look tbh.

pinkfrocks Fri 14-Aug-15 12:02:43

The King Edward 7 central London, patron HM Queen, charges £80.

freelancegirl Fri 14-Aug-15 15:35:47

Thanks everyone. I spoke to them today and that is exactly what happened Sidge. The thing is I had gone for my 40 year old check (I didn't know I had one until they called me for it) and they arranged a smear and blood tests for various other bits. So it came from them but I was happy knowing that my last one was in March last year, so over a year ago and I just hadnt had time to go. They are looking into it and seeing if I can get another one but yes I might start to go privately. I am in leafy London but can travel into town of course smile

That must have been scary with the symptoms twirly. I didn't have any when I had severe dyskariosis a few years ago. I'm having all sorts of weird twinges at the moment but I am putting that down to post baby (my second cs) and breastfeeding/ no period. I think I remember similar twinges before too.

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