Today I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to you all something very serious and close to my heart, womens health, in particular cervical cancer. There seems to be a stigma attached to talking about womens health, but we are all essentially the same and there shouldn't be any shame in being able to openly talk about something so important and potentially life changing!
I am sure many of you will be aware that today is the 2nd anniversary of the death of Jade Goody, reality TV star, mother of two, cervical cancer sufferer. To many people Jade Goody was just one of those wannabe TV stars, with bad geographical knowledge who wanted to make it big, and when she first made it onto our TV screens that was probably pretty accurate! But when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August 2008, and subsequently died a meer 7 months later she was credited with being the biggest influence on the sudden influx in women requesting to be screened. In late 2009, it was reported that the number of women going for smear tests in the United Kingdom had grown by 12% during the last year, after the figures had declined since 2002, no doubt saving many women's lives.
I personally credit her story to encouraging me to go and see my GP when I felt that something wasn't right. And after a year of being repeatedly told that I was to young to need a smear test as the chances of anything being wrong were so slight, I was finally tested. With the results coming back as 'borderline changes' I was sent off to the hospital for a colposcopy where I was diagnosed as having 'mild precancerous cells'. I now go for a colposcopy every 6 months where they monitor the cells and check for any changes so they can treat it hopefully before it develops any further. I am due to go again for the 3rd time in 6 weeks, fingers crossed there have been no changes!
People are currently campaigning to have the age for smear testing lowered from 25 to 20, which I 100% support, after all prevention and early treatment is better than trying to cure a disease that is already advanced. If you have any symptoms(abnormal bleeding/discomfort) I urge you to go and see your GP and request a smear test, if there is anything wrong it is so much better to know about it earlier rather than later!
Sorry if these wordy serious posts aren't your kind of thing, but I honestly believe that subjects like this need to be spoken about to increase awareness. I am in no way posting this to try and get sympathy for myself.