It’s a dangerous habit that could have serious implications.
Pap smears are kind of uncomfortable. You have to lie down in those stirrups while they insert a sharp tool up there and scrape away. Yuck. Ladies, we’re supposed to get this done at 21 years of age, and then have it completed every three years until we reach the age of 65. If you’re 30 years and older, you can choose to have a Pap test plus HPV test every five years.
Not exactly a birthday party. But as uncomfortable as it is to get this test done, as you probably know, it can do wonders. It could save your life. Pap tests are done to detect cervical cancer, and if professionals can catch it early on, your chances of surviving the illness are much, much higher.
And so it’s disturbing to learn of a new trend. Many women are skipping Pap smears because they feel, well, embarrassed. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a charity in Britain, surveyed over 2,000 women and found that a third of them delayed being screened because of their feelings.
Thirty-five percent of the young women surveyed reported they felt embarrassed to do the test because of the shape of their body, almost 40% felt they smelled bad, and 34% didn’t approve of the shape of their own vulva.
Not waxing or shaving in the bikini area was another reason women skipped out on their appointment.
The repercussions of not being screened can be high. Cervical cancer is the mot common cancer for women under 35 years of age. Feeling weird about it? Talk to your doctor about what happens during the screening. Request that you have a private appointment without medical students present, if this makes you more comfortable.
And if you can, ask someone you know who’s had it done to talk about it- they might have felt just as strange the first time around.
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