Friday, January 18, 2013

January is Cervical Cancer Screening Month

By Nurse Diane

I was due for an appointment with the gynecologist later in the week. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for that morning at 9:30 am. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 am.

The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare.

As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort. So, I rushed upstairs, threw off my pajamas, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in that area to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

I was in the waiting room for only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended that I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away. I was a little surprised when the doctor said, 'My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?' I didn't respond.

After the appointment, I went home. The rest of the day was normal ... some shopping, cleaning, and cooking. After school when my 6-year-old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, 'Mommy, where's my washcloth?' I told her to get another one from the cupboard. She replied, 'No, I need the one that was here by the sink, it had all my glitter and sparkles saved inside it.'

Never going back to that doctor! Ever!

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A trip to the gynecologist is never pleasant.  Going to a cold impersonal office, shedding your clothes....laying on a table as hard as a rock, and putting your feet in stirrups that spread your legs wide open.  It is uncomfortable, embarrassing and totally necessary!  An annual PAP smear is crucial to detect any cancer cells, and speedy treatment.  The sooner any irregularities are detected, the quicker the response and possible cure.  Each year, approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States. Yet cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today.

To prepare for your exam, here are some instructions that will help ensure the best results:

Try to schedule the test on a day when you do not expect to be on your menstrual period. If your period begins unexpectedly and will be continuing on the day of your test, try to reschedule the appointment.

Avoid sexual intercourse 48 hours before the test.

Do not douche 48 hours before the test.

Do not use tampons, or vaginal creams, foams, films, or jellies (such as spermicides or medications inserted into the vagina) for 48 hours before the test.

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January is Cervical Cancer Screening Month.  If you didn’t make any resolutions this year, then a good one for you is to make every January your regular gynecologist visit month, and get screened for cancer!

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