A young woman has shared how she felt as if her whole world was “falling apart” after receiving a letter in the mail.
Chantelle Day, 25, received a letter from a doctor saying she may have cancer after a routine cervical swab.
Chantelle, from Old Swan, Liverpool, has now spoken out about her experience to encourage others to ensure they get checked up and attend their scheduled appointments, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
She said: “I had doubts about booking in. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to be alone because of Covid.
“My girlfriend had her smear test two years ago and encouraged me to sign up. I did and two weeks later I received a letter telling me my results were abnormal and that I was positive for HPV.
“The biopsies were CIN (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) grades 1, 2 and 3 but needed further treatment to ensure I was not at further risk.
“In April I went back to Liverpool Women’s Hospital and underwent the loop treatment, which uses a heated electric current to remove specific cells.
“Personally, I found the whole situation overwhelming and found it all mentally exhausting.
“After the loop treatment, the doctor explained to me that cancer is possible at this stage.
“When I heard this news my whole world felt like it was falling apart and I couldn’t help but think about the worst.
“After three weeks of waiting, I received a letter today from Liverpool Women’s Hospital telling me that I had been given the all clear and no cancer cells had been found.”
Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cell changes. Cervical screening can help prevent cervical cancer by identifying infections and cells that have changed (become abnormal). The cells can be monitored or treated to stop cancer from developing.
Samantha Dixon, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: “It should not be the case that shame is associated with cervical cancer screening results in 2022.
“The HPV stigma needs to be addressed and it is up to all of us to remove the stigma associated with a diagnosis.
“Much more needs to be done to ensure that everyone undergoing screening is fully prepared for and has the information needed to cope with varying outcomes, because cervical cancer prevention does not stop at cervical screening. “
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is using its week of action, Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (17-23 January 2022) to raise awareness of cervical cancer screening, encourage participation and increase understanding of possible outcomes.
Tonia Antoniazzi, MP for Gower, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer: “We have an incredible opportunity to one day eradicate cervical cancer and while cervical cancer screening is at the heart of it, cancer prevention goes beyond screening.
“We need to recognize the importance of diagnosing, monitoring and treating cervical cell changes and making sure everyone is supported every step of the way.
“No one should feel like they don’t have the information and support to access a cervical screening or to deal with an unexpected result.”
The charity is urging women and people with a cervix to make an appointment if they are overdue, while calling for greater action to increase understanding and reduce fear of possible outcomes.
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