First of all, this forum is amazing. You are all amazing. This has helped normalize everything that I have been feeling and everyone is so supportive. I feel like there are a lot of similar concerns in posts but everyone has responded to the individual's unique concerns and that's why I feel confident in posting, although sorry if any of you feel like you are repeating yourself!
I'm 24 and had my first smear test two weeks ago which came back with high grade dyskarosis. I went for colposcopy yesterday, the nurse confirmed it was CIN3 and performed a LLETZ. I have to say that pain wise it was nowhere near as bad as I was psyched up for it to be, although have been left incredibly emotional - also have had to remove my nuvaring contraceptive for the procedure so that has messed my cycle up and possibly explains the tears. Anyway I've spoken to a few friends and from reading the forums I didn't realise how common any of this is - I do feel mostly reassured. However the thing that's really worrying me is the fact that when I was about 20 I had at least one, but maybe two, of the HPV immunization jabs. This probably means that I had HPV before the age of 20, and I've been sexually active since I was 15. This is my first smear too, so I don't have anything previous to go by. I just feel like the cells have had a long time to worsen and that I'm more likely to have bad news... The nurse said it was only a small area, although it was quite severe and would need treating. When I first went in I asked if I definitely didn't have cancer and the nurse (who was brilliant throughout, btw) tactfully said she couldn't say for sure but that it was unlikely, so I assumed that was almost a no. But then after the procedure she said I would get results in the next 6-8 weeks, but they'd be sooner if it was bad news, I started to worry again. I go from feeling assured that it's common and statistically probably nothing, feeling like I'm overreacting, but then thinking about the time it's had to develop and freaking out. Either way I know that there's nothing I can do and worrying will help nothing, but I do want to gauge the severity of the situation. As so of my friends have undergone this I don't feel that able to speak to them about the fear, they're quite dismissive that it will all be fine - I know this is to put my mind at ease but it doesn't help!
Just a few questions to help me understand...
1. Is it possible for a smear test to diagnose cancer straight away, if not what would it be likely to say? What I mean is, I understand that CIN3 means the cells are precancerous, but is CIN3 the smear result that leads to a diagnosis of cancer? Or would they probably have more of a clue if cancer was already there?
2. Hard to know but... Do you think that when the nurse said cancer was unlikely did she mean statistically or based on my smear results (she hadn't performed the colposcopy by then)?
3. Even if the cells were cancerous, would a LLETZ mean they'd possibly have been removed now?
4. What are the results I'm waiting for testing? For cancer? To confirm that I had CIN3? What are the possible outcomes from the results? The only one I know (and the one I'm hoping for!) is that I had CIN3 and I'll need a repeat smear in 6 months.
5. At which stages could cervical cancer be before having any symptoms?