Freephone information line: 1800 45 45 55

Personal stories

View the video on the right to listen to women speaking about their experience of cervical screening.

Below are links to brief stories by women about their experiences.

Carmel's story

I have to say CervicalCheck is a great service and there is a great awareness of it among women.

I am one of those who ignored the letters and when I got another reminder I went. I am so pleased that I did, because I have to have a following assessment and a colposcopy next week.

I’m not looking forward to it, but so glad it’s identified. I am going to a place near enough to me in Wexford.

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Tracey and Mags encourage their friend to attend

We have a friend June. Imagine she has an 11 year old and she had never had a smear test.

She was afraid. We told her to go. She did and could not believe it was all over in a few minutes, like having her throat seen to. She knows now she will be called again in a few years.

We are pleased we got her to go in the end and she was really glad.

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Karen’s story

I am 28 years old and live in the mid-west. I had never had a smear test before but I had seen and heard all of the publicity surrounding Jade Goody’s illness and felt that I should have one done.

I kept putting off going for the test for a number of reasons. I was not sure how to go about it and I was nervous about seeing my family doctor to have it done. My GP knows my whole family and I was a bit embarrassed about that. Then I heard ads for CervicalCheck on the radio and it reminded me again that I should really have a smear test. I talked to my friend about it and she told me to look at the CervicalCheck website for advice. She said that I didn’t need to go to my family doctor but could choose another doctor or GP.

I looked at and then called the Freephone information line. They told me about all the smeartakers in my area that I could choose from. I was delighted to hear that I had a choice. In the end I went to the practice nurse at my own GP’s but I could have picked another practice or clinic in my town or gone to another nearby town for my smear test.

Having the smear test was actually easy. I was a bit nervous and embarrassed at first but the practise nurse made me feel welcome and put me at ease. The whole thing only took a few minutes from start to finish. My smear test was sent away by the practice nurse and within a few weeks I was delighted when I got a letter to tell me that my smear test result was normal.

CervicalCheck will tell me when to go for my next smear test in three years and this time I will have no fear about making my next appointment. I now tell all my friends and women I know who are aged 25 to 60 to get this free, life saving test done.

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Breda’s story

I am a 38 year old mum of two young girls living in Dublin. I have had regular smear tests in the past so was happy to go to my GP for a smear test when I got my letter from CervicalCheck.

I was a bit shocked when I got the letter with my results telling me that I had a not normal result, with low grade cell changes and needed to have a colposcopy. An appointment was made for me by CervicalCheck at my nearest colposcopy clinic which was in the local hospital. I had never heard of a colposcopy before but CervicalCheck sent me a leaflet with information. Reading this helped me to know what to expect at my appointment.

The colposcopy itself only took about 10 minutes. The nurses and doctor were very helpful and answered all the questions I had. Having the colposcopy was a lot like having a smear test, except I was examined on a special chair and a sample of cells was removed for testing. I was a little bit 'crampy' for a few hours after this. It felt a little bit like period pain but it soon settled down.

My results were sent to me in a few weeks and I was thrilled that they were normal. I would recommend that every woman has regular smear tests so that any problems can be checked, found and treated without delay. This could save your life.

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Jenny’s story

I am a 43 year old mother of three living in Cork. I never really thought that I needed to go for a smear test as I have always been fit and healthy and have been married for 20 years.

CervicalCheck sent me two letters but I was doing my best to ignore them. I am always nervous of doctors and hospitals but my GP told me that it would be a good idea to have a smear test as I had not had one for over 10 years. He said that he could do it for me or the practice nurse would if I preferred.

I had the smear test taken by my doctor, which took no time at all and I wasn’t at all embarrassed like I thought I would be. Imagine my shock when I got a letter telling me that my smear test was not normal. An appointment had been made for me to have a colposcopy in two weeks time.

I was scared and upset that this could be happening to me when I was fit and healthy. I went to the hospital and had my colposcopy. The staff was fantastic and explained everything in detail. I had a biopsy, where the doctor took a small sample of tissue and it was sent to a laboratory to be examined. The results showed that I had high grade cell changes on my cervix.

I immediately thought this meant that I had cancer. But I was lucky. The cell changes on my cervix could have developed into cancer if I hadn’t gone for my smear test and found them.

I had to go back to the colposcopy clinic for another appointment. This time they removed the whole area that had high grade cell changes with a laser. I was so relieved when the cells were all removed.

I had to go back to the colposcopy clinic after the cells were removed for a check-up and thankfully everything looked fine. Instead of going for a smear test every three or five years, I now have to have a smear test with my GP or practice nurse every year.

I don’t mind going for a smear test every year because it’s important to make sure the cells don’t come back.

I tell all women now to have their smear test. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about – and I’d be a lot more embarrassed if I got cervical cancer because I didn’t bother to go for my smear test.

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Is cuid den tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála é CervicalCheck
Bosca Oifig Phoist 161, Luimneach
Saorghlao 1800 45 45 55
CervicalCheck is part of the National Cancer Screening Service
PO Box 161 Limerick
Freephone 1800 45 45 55

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Is cuid den Rannóg Sláinte agus Folláine i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte í an tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Scagthástála. Cuimsíonn sí BreastCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Cíoch, CervicalCheck – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Ceirbheacs, BowelScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Putóige agus Diabetic RetinaScreen – An Clár Náisiúnta Scagthástála Reitiní do Dhiaibéitigh.

The National Screening Service is part of the Health and Wellbeing Division of the Health Service Executive. It encompasses BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme, CervicalCheck – The National Cervical Screening Programme, BowelScreen – The National Bowel Screening Programme and Diabetic RetinaScreen – The National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme.