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Supporting you through LLETZ

Posted on: Wednesday, 9th December 2020 by Imogen Pinnell, Health Information Manager

Today we’re launching a new resource in partnership with the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to provide information and support around LLETZ treatment.

LLETZ is the most common treatment offered to those with high grade cervical cell changes. It’s highly effective, with about a 90% success rate. LLETZ will often be a straightforward and positive experience. But, as with all medical procedures, there are some risks and potential side effects. 

This includes expected and often short-term effects, such as bleeding, pain and changes to vaginal discharge, as well as effects that may last longer, such as the emotional impact.   

If you are offered LLETZ, it’s really important that you’ve got the information you need to make decisions around treatment and know what to do if you experience any symptoms afterwards.

Annie Gorry, RCOG Patient Information Committee chair:

 “We are delighted to work together with Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust on this important resource about LLETZ for women and their families. We hope the information will help you to make choices about your treatment and care by explaining the benefits, risks and possible effects of the procedure. We have shared this information resource with our membership so that it can reach as many women as possible.”

Why have we written this?

Over the years, our support services have heard your questions, concerns and your range of experiences of LLETZ. This new resource reflects what you, our community, have told us.

Last year, our ‘Not So Simple’ report revealed even more stories and experiences. It found that many who had LLETZ were not told about the possible side effects - in fact, one in five said that the possible impacts of treatment were not explained at all. As a result many felt anxious and unprepared, and often tried to deal with side effects without medical support or treatment. We don’t want anyone who is having LLETZ to not feel fully supported throughout the whole process.

If you have been offered or had LLETZ

LLETZ remains an effective, routine treatment that is offered to thousands of women and people with a cervix every year. Everyone will have an individual experience with LLETZ and for most it is fairly straightforward. 

While some side effects are common and usually get better within 4 weeks, others may last longer or be more severe than expected. Remember that most effects of this treatment are short-term and, if you experience them, there are places to get the support you need. If you do feel nervous, that is totally normal. It’s best to talk to your colposcopist or other healthcare professional, but remember we’re here for you too. There are details about our support services at the bottom of the page.

For healthcare professionals

If you work in a colposcopy department, or see patients who have cell changes, our ‘Not So Simple’ report made recommendations which you, with the help of this information, can put into practice. This includes a greater recognition of the impact a diagnosis of cell changes, coupled with LLETZ treatment, can have on the patient, and everyone with cell changes being made aware of our services which can offer extra support. 

Listening to your patients’ concerns or questions, as well as ensuring that they are familiar with this information means that they’re able to give informed consent, be less likely to have complications afterwards, and be less surprised by any side effects they experience. You can also signpost your patients to the support offered within it. 

Do you want to talk to someone or ask questions about LLETZ or cell changes? Our support services are here for you >

Categories: lletz