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Jennifer, a nurse, had an abnormal result after her cervical screening appointment when she was 33.
I had been experiencing pain and bleeding during sex for a little while when I received my invitation for my cervical screening (smear test) in July 2020. The UK was just coming out of lockdown and there was a backlog in tests from all the cancellations and delays, so my results took about seven weeks to arrive.
I received a phone call asking me to go in for a colposcopy appointment but this was cancelled twice so I found myself waiting for a long time. I’m a registered nurse so naturally I’m very health-conscious and found waiting for the appointment really difficult. Fortunately, I was able to access private healthcare through my employer so I gave them a call but they said they were not going to cover the colposcopy. I kept pushing and after several calls they decided to cover it, as well as my treatment.
At the colposcopy, I was told I would need a biopsy in case I didn’t need treatment. The results showed I had CGIN and “small fragment invasive malignancy”. Everything moved really fast after that and two days later I went in for a cone biopsy. The results showed I had high-grade CGIN but no cancer.
I know from personal experience that waiting for appointments and results can make you feel really anxious. My biggest piece of advice would be to find distractions and seek support. The waiting time is completely out of our control, especially right now with COVID-19 and the delays as a result of this, so distracting yourself is absolutely essential. It’s a strange world we live in right now and unfortunately some things are taking longer than usual, but you are entitled to push for treatment.
I also think it’s important to find support, whether that’s from loved ones, friends or on the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust Forum. Connecting with and speaking to people who understand your experiences and circumstances can be a lifeline when you’re struggling and I found it reassuring having people to relate to or who understood how I was feeling. As supportive as my boyfriend was, it’s just not the same as talking to those who are going through, or have been through, similar treatments. Even though I’ve had my treatment, I continue to visit the forum and try to offer support to those who are currently where I was two months ago. You never have to be alone in how you’re feeling.