My first smear test (yes… if you are male, you may want to stop reading this post now and come back tomorrow), got delayed by pregnancy. Then it got delayed by hormonal issues, the implant, the injection and the fact that Mother Nature seems to come for me, at least three weeks out of every four.
Eventually though, I had the test, I waited for the results, and as I expected, I had “Mild Dyskaryosis” which is the term given to abnormal changes to cells on the cervix.
I was also told I tested positive for high risk HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). Most women have the HPV virus at some point in their lives and it most often goes away by itself and people don’t even know they have it. Certain types of high risk HPV can cause Cervical Cancer.
I was referred for a Colposcopy – a camera… up there… to examine the changes to cells and determine whether or not they are anything sinister. Various different dyes and chemicals are painted on the cervix to check for abnormal cells. Unfortunately, a patch of abnormal cells were found on my cervix.
Next step was to take a biopsy. This was really quite uncomfortable. Although the tissue they cut out, was only a tiny part, it still hurt.
A few weeks later, I got my biopsy results.
Abnormal cells found on the cervix are graded CIN1 / CIN2 / CIN3. CIN stands for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia.
CIN1 are minor changes to cells, relatively low risk and expected to repair themselves. People with CIN1 are likely to have an extra smear test.
CIN2 cells are slightly higher risk and will either require more tests or treatment, depending on your doctor.
CIN3 cells are the highest risk abnormal cells are require treatment. These are likely to turn cancerous, although this could take up to ten years, it is important to treat them before they reach that stage.
So me being me, obviously I get told I have Grade 3 Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia or CIN3. So it turns out I didn’t have mild dsykaryosis, but I have severe dyskaryosis. Typical, just my luck, but I just need to get on with it.
It has been confirmed that these cells are not yet Cancerous. To which I am hugely relieved, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to the treatment. I felt violated after the Colposcopy.
So next for me is a Large Loop Diathermy, also known as LLETZ (Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone). This is basically a metal loop, which goes… the same place as the camera went… and destroys the abnormal cells by electrocuting them. This will be done under a local anaesthetic.
I’m really not looking forward to this treatment, but I have to do what I can to prevent Cancer number 3. I don’t want Cervical Cancer, but without this treatment, it’s possible that that is where my body is heading.
To any of my readers who have been putting off their smear test… don’t! Book it now!