An MP has urged women not to delay having a smear test due to the coronavirus pandemic after revealing treatment to remove abnormal cells left her “without the majority” of her cervix.
Labour’s Alex Davies-Jones (Pontypridd) has used her experience of being diagnosed with a cervical cell abnormality at a young age to stress the importance of receiving a cervical screening, even during the Covid-19 crisis.
A cervical screening involves a small sample of cells being taken from the cervix and checked for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause changes to the cells.
The NHS recommends all women between the ages of 25 and 64 should go for regular smear tests.
Writing in the i, Ms Davies-Jones said that she was diagnosed with the abnormality CIN3 on a “large area” of her cervix at the age of 25.
CIN3 is a cell abnormality which, if left untreated, can develop into cervical cancer.
Ms Davies-Jones said she initially delayed booking an appointment after receiving an invitation in the post, but was talked into it after receiving a “lecture” from her friends about how important it was.
Her initial test results came back abnormal.
She said: “I was utterly terrified. Everyone had told me that a routine screening was nothing to be concerned about.
“I didn’t ever think that there could be a chance that my cells would be ‘abnormal’ and that the next few months of my life would leave me terrified and constantly contemplating my own mortality.”
Ms Davies-Jones said she underwent two separate treatments to remove the abnormal cells from her cervix before finally receiving the all-clear from doctors, who warned her the situation could have been different if she had delayed that initial test any further.
She added the extent of the treatments meant she was now “without the majority” of her cervix, “but (her) life was saved”.
Ms Davies-Jones said she then attended screenings every six months over the next few years, and received her latest reminder to book an appointment last week.
She wrote: “I know that coronavirus has led to cancellations and delays to these appointments, and that our NHS is under huge strain at the moment. But if you’re in doubt please check when your last screening was, and if you do receive that all-important letter, don’t delay in booking.”