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Cervical Population Screening; why do 'we women' have such a hard time with this?

Invited for a cervical exam. “Dear madam, a few months ago you received an invitation for the cervix population screening. You can still use this research.” In the invitation to this population screening they asked me to call my GP if I still want to participate. Oh yes…forgot….

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Population screening of the cervix and diagnosis of cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is most common in women between the ages of 30 and 60. From the age of 30, women are automatically sent an invitation for a cervical population screening every five years. In the Netherlands, around 700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year † And per year 200 women die from this disease † A smear test is performed to determine whether the human papilloma virus (HPV) is present. You can read about the HPV virus and its stages here. If this virus is present, there is a higher risk of cervical cancer and the same smear will be further examined.

Set aside the invitation of the population screening

Why do I always put down that invitation for the cervical examination? It turns out I'm not the only one. Every year, approximately 750,000 women are invited for the cervix population screening. Only 70% of these can actually be examined by the GP. If you do not want to participate in this population screening for cervical cancer, you do not have to. It is not mandatory. But so much misery can be avoided. And yet I postpone this research every five years. Because I find it exciting. Exciting and uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. And like I said, I'm not the only one. Joyce previously wrote a blog about her fear of having a Pap smear.

Visit to the dentist versus visit to the general practitioner

Going to the dentist is always a little scary for me. Not that I'm very nervous, but I always have a very mild stomach ache. And I also have that feeling when making a smear. Only the abdominal pain for a cervical examination is much worse. I'd rather regularly smile bare my teeth at the dentist than go to the doctor with my buttocks (and vagina) bare. This means that I can schedule a check-up appointment with the dentist every six months without any problems. But a check-up once every five years for the smear is much more difficult for me.

Always postpone the cervical population screening

I always put the first invitation for the cervical cancer population screening far away. For example, a week after my 45 e . I received birthday invitation again. I was busy, so the letter ended up in the pile. A few weeks later I got my hands on it again. “Oh yes, I have to make an appointment”. But for when? Busy, busy, busy † But to be honest… The doctor is nearby, I work part-time and so I do have time for this. excuses. And is there really no time? Then you just make time for something so important, right?! Would you think huh.

I “forgot” the invitation. Well, forgot… In the back of my mind a small voice sounded regularly. That told me there was an important letter in the cupboard. Which I couldn't forget. It didn't take any action. Not yet. The cervical population screening staff were kind enough to send a reminder letter. They understand that we women are busy. Yet this memory also disappeared in the closet, with the first invitation.

Attention to the vagina

And there he lay just fine. Until a few weeks ago! My great TV heroine Chantal Janzen paid full attention to the vagina in her magazine &C. And the importance of the Pap smear. BAM. That came in better than the letter of invitation for the population screening. I put my embarrassment aside and immediately made an appointment with the doctor.

Swab and IUD, a combination appointment

I also immediately planned to change the IUD. Like it was nothing. I saw in my diary that I actually still had three quarters of a year to change my IUD, but it was now or never. No more excuses and procrastination Erika. The deal was made. Almost 46 years now….

So a lot of time has passed for me, but in the end I was happy with the appointment for the cervix examination. And also nervous. Everything was neatly updated from below and the IUD was picked up at the pharmacy. (Something like that ... that packaging is really huge. It didn't fit in my handbag so I had to walk around with that gigantic box)

Swab painful or not?

I was ready and somewhat nervous I went to the doctor. I was in only nine minutes. The smear was so squeaky and I didn't feel a thing. Having the old IUD removed and a new one placed is just as annoying, but it is manageable.

Dressing and undressing and the administration for the examination took longer than I lay there in full uniform in front of the (female) doctor. And of course she wasn't concerned with what my bottom looks like at all. She wanted to get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible. And she did. “It's good that you came. It's a small survey, but very important. I'll see you in five years." She said goodbye with a firm handshake.

That was it. I was so looking forward to this. And why? I really do not know. It should be the most natural thing in the world for women, but I still found the cervical population screening exciting. Now we have to wait for the result. But strangely enough, I'm not nervous about this. If the results are good, the GP will see me again in just under five years. And I've resolved that I won't wait that long. Promised.

Population survey letter lost

If you consider that you actually need to make an appointment for the cervical population screening, but have you lost the invitation? Don't worry, here you can read what you can do.

Use of a self-sampling test

Erika is not the only one who finds such a smear a thing. 30% of the women who receive a call do not use the invitation. For this reason, a self-sampling kit has also been developed. This is a reliable set with which you can test yourself at home whether you have HPV. Would you like to know more about HPV, the self-sampling kit, cervical cancer or this population screening? Check out the RIVM website for more information.