Scared of first screening

I'm new to this website but saw that there is a great deal of support here so I have decided to sign up..

I'm 26years old and when my letter came through about a smear test (3 months before I turned 25) I chose to ignore it and then was sent another three letters to try and get me to come in, all of which went in the bin.

I felt as though I was being forced to conform to screening when I thought this was a personal choice? Most of my friends have been and keep telling me to go but I just cannot bring myself to go and open my legs for all to see and have something pushed inside of me that feels so un-natural. I put it off for a year because I wasnt mentally ready and the truth is I still am not. I have always been healthy and taken very good care of my body and wouldnt hesitate to go to the GP if anything was ever wrong downstairs.

The only type of gynaecology stuff Ive ever had to have done consist of STI tests which have always been 'self kits' that you perfrom in a toilet in the clinic whereby you swab yourself, these have always been clear and I have no anxiety issues with this at all. I also never go to the GP unless im ill, which is another reason ive never built up an intolerance to anything medical as I dont get poorly very often.

Its actually not the specific procedure that im scared of or the result itself. I'm just so much better at dealing with things when there is actually a problem, rather than it being a health 'Check-up' with the fear of the unknown.

It is that damn speculum that causes most of my anxiety.  In my head im not giving full consent to having something shoved inside me so therefore it feels wrong. I know that when I am pregnant I will be prodded and poked about but in my eyes my body is then a 'shell' so to say for the baby so I dont mind what they do at that time. I am a very tense person and I just know I wont relax and i wont want to be forced to relax either. If the nurse comes up with a silly comment such as 'take a deep breath' im more likely to walk out than conform. I wish it did hurt to be honest because then I could focus on the pain and not the procedure of what is actually happening down there.

My partner thinks I should go and look at it in a way that says im healthy and ready to have a child as we plan to become parents within the next two years (hopefully before my next smear test is due).

So far I have taken the plunge and booked an appointment in three weeks time and raised my concerns with my receptionist but im still not feeling any better about it. I woudl prefer to wait until after preganacny, at least that way I would have built an intolerance to it. Any help and advice would be very much appreaciated.



Obviously it's entirely your choice and your body so nobody should make you feel pressured into having it done. Me personally, I have a son, And I was pregnant with my 2nd when I received my letter to go for my first smear. I had to wait 12 weeks after giving birth and i was there at the doctors exactly 12 weeks to the day! However I have family history (3 generations) of cancer and hysterectomy for each, And I also work in a hospice. So this sort of thing scares the hell out of me. And if I'm being honest, you say you would feel better going after you have had children and I see your reasoning for this.. but at the minute I'm waiting for biopsy results and all i can do is look at my two children and pray to God everything is ok because my biggest fear is leaving them without a mum. Its a hard one, for someone without children I can 100% see why you would want children before all these problems. Maybe go see your doctor and express all your concerns. The speclum really isn't that bad, not the most dignified thing no, but ultimately could save your life. Good luck with whatever you choose xx

Please go, early diagnosis is critical, I have been diagnosed twice with cervical cancer, both times it was a result of a routine smear, I have never had any symptoms.

The first time was following my very first smear over 20 years ago, I went on to have a daughter after the procedure.

I have always found all the nurses to be very considerate and respectful, I have never felt violated in any way, this is particularly important to me as I am survivor of a rape.

I don't think anyone is keen on having the procedure done. It is best that you have it done for peace of mind as cervical cancer usually doesn't have an symptoms until it is advanced in most cases. I understand what you are saying about the speculum and the brush they use and this comes from a woman who is considered very nervous. It can be daunting I agree so maybe it might be better if you take your partner, a family member or perhaps a close friend with you so it might make you feel more at ease. The actual test itself takes less than two minutes and when you sit down and think about it that is hardly any time at all. Another tip is, if you do decide to go for it reward yourself with something afterwards. A friend of mine always treats herself to cake afterwards so that she feels better. Try and have a word with the nurse who is doing it (if you do have it done) and tell them that you are nervous and they will also try to reassure you. Good luck!!!

Thank you for all of your kind and thoughtful comments. I've still kept my appointment and I will speak to the nurse, it's just a procedure that makes me worry a lot. I'm not scared of pain (unusually) I'm just scared of the feeling it brings...I've never had anyone down that end, if it was external then it wouldn't be an issue but it's internal and it makes me physically cringe when I just think about it...

Glad that you have still kept your appointment. You are absolutely doing the right thing by having this test done. Yes, it is intrusive and a little bit uncomfortable but you will have a clearer mind once you have had it done and I like I said previously give yourself a little 'treat'  afterwards. Good luck and im sure that you will be fine :)

Appointment coming up next week - still don't feel better, very tempted to cancel it. It's just a screening exam, its not like you can be checked and screened every year for every type of cancer you could get? That could take years...1 out of 2 gets cancer in their lifetime which are very high odds anyway. Going for one smear wont change those going against my will so therefore it's not consent. I think I should wait until I feel I want to go. It's optional for a reason I guess. 

I know it's too tempting to cancel it but if there are any issues these can be dealt with now rather than  further down the line when it may be harder to deal with. I know what you mean when you say it's not made to feel optional but honestly it could save your life. I am not keen on going for them either but I just bite the bullet for my husband and my family's sake (that's just my personal choice) Like I have said before if you go for it 'reward' yourself with a little treat afterwards. Another idea is to take a female family member or a close friend with you if you are feeling really nervous. Other than that your doctor can prescribe you some diazepam ( I have taken these before) or you could try some of that 'rescue remedy' I do hope that you keep the appointment so that you can have sort of peace of mind 

Appointment is in two days, if I cancel then it will be tomorrow. Your lifetime risk without screening is 1.7% and I cannot believe how low it is! That’s also including not having a snear test within the time frame of 5 years, well I’m only 26...I think anything to do with your body is an informed choice. I’d take the same approach to all screening. The difficultly is that many screenings can be done in the comfort of your own home and don’t require such invasion. Im not saying that I’d never ever go, but right now I don’t think it’s the right time for me...


Although I'd been for lots of smears before, I nearly didn't go to the one last year; like you I thought the risk was low and I was so busy with work and study.  Luckily I did as I dread to think what might of happened if I'd put it off.  Take care and I hope you keep your appointment.

I don't think it's worth taking a risk and cancelling it. Like slb97 has said she dreads to think what might have happened if she put hers off. I am due to go for mine at the end of the month, im not looking forward to it but im just going to grin and bear it and wait for the letter to come back to me. I wouldn't cancel if I were you but it's up to you at the end of the day and you know the risks involved