I’m Anna, and I recently completed my PhD. I work in research aimed at improving mental health and addiction interventions for people and their families. I live with my wonderful partner and over 150+ house plants. Since my teens, I have always had my regularly scheduled screening for cervical cancer. When I was 31, I had two irregular paps and found out on my 32nd birthday that I needed to have a biopsy to determine the severity of abnormal cervical cells. From that day forward, I’ve had multiple tests, appointments, cryotherapy, days off work, time away from my PhD, missed social events, and a lot of recovering. Nothing changes your life like finding out you’re one stage of abnormal cells away from cervical cancer. Five days after my 34th birthday I had a pap which resulted in an unplanned biopsy. If these results come back anything worse than slightly abnormal, I have to have surgery to remove part of my cervix. Waiting a month for these results is the worst part.
Appointments and recovery are uncomfortable, but waiting for an unknown result is worse. Although the past few years of my life have been full of uncertainty, I am grateful for regular screening as it has most likely saved my life. I’ve never experienced any symptoms which is common and therefore regular screening is very important. Please book your screening if you are due, and encourage you friends and family to get screened (especially older women as they are least likely to get screened). Although gynaecological health problems only impact women, I strongly encourage men to remind the women in their lives to get screened. We can all play a part in increasing regular screening. I am incredibly thankful to my friends and family who have supported me over the past two and a half years of this journey and I don't know where I would be without them.