Well yesterday I had to go for my follow up appointment, the one we all dread, yes, the pap smear. Every 3-4 months I have them. This is the only way to detect cervical cancer. I just would like to take a few moments and remind you to have your annual exam if you have not had one. As I have previously shared I had stage 3B that has a 5 year survival rate of 40-60%. I also feel I need to share again the importance of having endocervical cells present in your pap. Sometimes it is very hard or impossible to get these cells during your pap. If your last pap did not have these cells present discuss with your healthcare provider why there were no cells present and what can be done to make sure they get them on your next pap. If you wait till you have abnormal bleeding as most will tell you, in my opinion, you have waited to long and survival rate chances are reduced. You want to catch it before you have symptoms. Once you have symptoms (and have to wait for your healthcare provider to diagnose you properly) the cancer has already progressed. I have also sent an email in regards to National cervical Screening Health explaining how I disagree with some of their guidelines. We have to be knowlegdeable. I wish I had been more knowledgeable instead of trusting my healthcare providers with my health. I had never heard of endocervical cells until my cancer. When I now go back and look at my pap results the one in 2004 had endocervical cells present all the ones after said no endocervical cells present. I feel the healthcare provider should have noticed that right away and been more precautious. But, as we all know they are too busy and in a hurry to see the next patient. If your healthcare provider is like this, fire them and find one that will listen to your symptoms and take time to explain. I am so thankful I found a doctor that finally listened to my symptoms.
Now it is the waiting game to see what how the results come in. Also, not a real for sure test now. When a person has radiation they usually have stenosis. I now have cervical stenosis, so the pap cannot get all the cells needed. There has been patients that have had recurrence that does not get detected by pap and it has again progressed past the first stage. Then the only way to detect is by a PET scan. This is something else you need to be knowledgeable about. Do not be afraid to ask questions and stress your concerns.
Remember none of us are promised tomorrow, today is our day let's make it count. Live with a purpose and live life to its fullest.