Woman's hour 6th July

Did anyone else listen to the Radio 4 Woman's Hour podcast on 6th July about the HPV vaccine and older women? I found out about it today from a Twitter post. Whilst I felt it raised some valuable points I felt it would also have been useful to inform older women that the virus can lie dormant for many years and so it is important to attend screening even if you are not sexually active at the moment or in recent years. From what I have learned there are many diviorcees and single women in their 50s who stop going for screening in the mistaken belief that they are no longer at risk. It crossed my mind not to go but then I figured they wouldn't call me for screening if it wasn't necessary. Just think what could have happened if I hadn't gone for my screening!!! Please everyone encourage your relatives and friends of my generation to keep up with their screening!!!!!

Rant over!!! Jo's Trust and the hospital staff are possibly the only things keeping me sane through this whole process. If we are going to remove the stigma of HPV there needs to be more open discussion of this and awareness that 80% of people contract it in a lifetime. I am presumably in the one in 10 people who has not cleared the virus before my treatment. It has taken a long time to process this but I think I am now there but I still don't feel like shouting it from the rooftops! Still I have hopefully extended my life expectancy by a few years which has to be a bonus.  Time to get on with life...

Hope you are all coping as well as you can




Hi 55

It is a very important point you make about older women and the ability of HPV to lie dormant for a long time.  I continue to do a lot of awareness raising about the importance of cervical screening;  I tell people that HPV may lay dormant for many years and possibly decades to hopefully drive home the point that long term celibacy, or monogamy come to that, is absolutely not a reason to consider one no longer has a risk for cervical cancer.  Unfortunately that was one of my mistaken beliefs when I stopped going for smear tests age 50y - it's highly likely I was infected with HPV in my early twenties albeit I was 60y when diagnosed with cc.

Another issue I come across particularly in older women  is they think don't think they need a smear test because of having had a hysterectomy.  On quite a few occasions I've then asked the woman if they are sure their cervix was removed and they often don't seem to know - hopefully they took on my suggestion to get checked for that.

I do shout from the roof tops about cervical screening, in as much that I often proactively raise the subject with strangers as well as friends/family, but there are so only so many roofs within earshot of me.  So the more of us that can raise awareness the better.

Best Wishes