Early Prevention (The Dreaded Smear Test)

It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

cervical cancer

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Early Prevention (The Dreaded Smear Test)

It’s that time of year, when we go for a smear

Where mortification feels likely,

It’s something we dread, often pretend we’ve not read

That letter of notification, So we ask, are they sure,

As this feels like a lure,

It can’t be three years already?

But you know that it has and  it’s risky to pass,

What may be an early prevention.


So…… you lie on your back,  And you try to relax

As you study the cracks on the ceiling

You try to be bold, But those forceps are cold

They came out the fridge, as we’re dreaming

Then it’s just a wee prick, a scrape with a stick

It’s over before you get comfy.

Five minutes it takes, to lessen the stakes

Of cancer from not being noticed.


So come on get a grip, and make this short trip

It’s never as bad as you’re thinking,

Your life is to dear, for a moment of fear

Not to help with what could be prevention,

So go get your smear, hope the results come back clear,

If they don’t……………. it’s been at least……… quick detection.

Written By Helen Armet






5 replies »

  1. Spot- on, Helen. Says it all.
    The key is….reeeeeelax. Breathe deeply, reeeeelax, go to a good place. Distract yourself, from what’s happening.
    The experience can depend an awful lot on the attitude of the person who is conducting the test. A brisk, unsympathetic nurse/doctor, doesn’t help – please note – all nurses/ doctors reading this!

  2. (Fiona G commenting) can I just say that I have never dreaded them, the nurse at my local surgery does them.I know her. It takes minutes and you can chat about any other health worries that you may have. It is about more than a test. I do always have a slight concern before I open the envelope with the results but that is a normal reaction. And as Helen says in her poem – then you can have preventative treatment if anything shows up.

  3. That’s what I mean – for years, it was no problem at all – the nurse was a kind, gentle person, I knew her (though, really, that shouldn’t matter), we’d chat, and I’d hardly notice it happening. Alternatively, I’ve had a few very bad experiences, over the years – really, very bad – resulting in bleeding and pain. And one which led to a long drawn-out course of treatment, which turned out to have been completely un-necessary, as the problem was caused by tension – wasn’t actually a deep-seated muscular problem, at all.
    That’s exactly what I mean, Fiona – it can be plain sailing- not the most pleasant of experiences! Or it can be very unpleasant, and for me, it’s depended very much on how the medic conducted the test.
    OK – I hold my hand up – I’ve stop having them. The last ‘incident’ put me off it for good. I know that this is entirely wrong of me, and don’t encourage anyone to follow in my headstrong footsteps, but……that was such a very unpleasant series of experiences, that I decided that….I’m getting on anyway, would be stopping soon anyway – have had enough of being messed about with when I was recently very ill, and so….I don’t go anymore. Wrong, wrong, wrong, but – I truly am fed up with being messed about with.
    I changed from that surgery anyway, due to the ‘treatment’ I had for an eye problem – which is what made me ill!

    I agree with you , Fiona, I agree with you, Helen – but I do want to ask any medics who read any of this, to take on board that – it matters a lot, how you deal with the person you’re…dealing with.
    Not everyone is as wilful and cussed as I am. Some folk will put up with just about anything from the medics. They don’t have to.
    OK – in a nutshell –
    Patients – if the medic makes you uncomfortable, in any way, ask for someone else to do the test. Or, if it’s just the procedure itself which you’re not too happy about – calm yourself and take yourself through it, in whatever way helps you to feel more comfortable – the medic can/should help with this.
    Medics – please, give a bit more thought to this, than many of you appear to. To you, it’s a routine procedure – to the patient, it might not feel that way – no reason why it shouldn’t , if handled correctly, but, often, it doesn’t. Remember, when all is said and done, this is quite an invasive, intimate thing to have happen to you.
    That’s all I’m trying to get across.
    Very much big thumbs up to Helen, for writing this, and writing it well. Also, for presenting this opportunity for some discussion about something which often isn’t …discussed.
    I’ve had bad experiences, I’ve had OK experiences – so it goes, but I do think that a bit of thought on the part of the medics, would help with the patients experience of this test. Maybe even talking them through some kind of relaxation technique, if needed?
    I’m wittering – I’ll stop.

    • Your not wittering Bernie, it sounds like something you needed to speak about and I’m pleased my wee poem enabled you to do that. I remember when down early to hospital for daughter number two, some of the women with various pregnancy conditions were undergoing smears daily and this was thought on as a chore and very much dread…..relax they say relax……went the conversatiin, without thinking I said out loud, next time they tell you to relax, when they’re doing what they’re doung, imagine your knees sprung loaded coming together…….bang….jings the ward erupted into fits of laughter until Sister came in and gave us all a row. Needless to say the discussions after the following smears were definately not to be repeated. H

  4. Humour, helps though, doesn’t it Helen? In most situations.
    That image of the sprung-loaded knees is a good one!

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