FOUR women from the region have shared their stories in a bid to encourage you to go for your smear test.
MUM Hazel Moore has a busy life and for 14 years she never got round to going for her routine smear tests.
“Life just got in the way,” she said.
But earlier this year she finally decided it was overdue, prompted to go after a friend had an abnormal test.
The procedure was quick and easy and Hazel, who lives in Kirkpatrick Fleming and has two children, ticked it off her list and went back to normal.
So, she was shocked when eight weeks later a referral and an appointment for a colposcopy dropped through her letterbox.
Explaining what happened next, she said: “Long story short, a biopsy was taken and cells burnt away and I was told it would be three weeks for results.”
Unfortunately, cancerous cells were found in the biopsy and they were sent to Edinburgh to a specialist oncology gynaecologist to look at.
Last week Hazel, 39, travelled up to the capital to find out more. She said: “My Dumfries consultant said it’s stage 1A.
“The Edinburgh consultant then said that the cancer margins taken were right up to the margin so they are wanting me to have a repeat loop done in a few weeks to make bigger margins, i.e. remove healthy tissue around where the cancer was to give it less chance to spread. Hopefully after this next procedure, that will be it, with just regular smear tests.
“We spoke about if it kept coming back and I’ve said to, in my own words, ‘wap it all out’. At the end of the day it’s my health I want, not my vanity anymore. I am feeling absolutely fine about it all, just dreading the procedure which is uncomfortable but necessary to get over this.”
Following her own experience, she’s pleading with other women locally not to dodge their smears and said: “Please, please go for your smears. I am ashamed of myself for putting off such a routine procedure because life took over and probably vanity.
“I was also told if it was this time next year, it would be a totally different story. I don’t know what the future holds but it could have been a hell of a lot worse.”
Hazel thanked her family and friends for their support and praised the NHS staff as amazing, adding: “My smile is still on my face. If one lady is prevented from what I am going through, then at least my stupidity is helping someone else.”
SANDY Stevenson is a regular visitor to the area with lots of family connections to Annandale and Eskdale.
And from her home in Australia she’s adding her voice to our health campaign and sharing her own experience.
Sandy said: “I used to have regular pap smears and then one came back positive. So, I had another one to confirm it and ended up having a cone biopsy and then a hysterectomy.”
She is a strong supporter of the HPV vaccination programme and said: “Young girls should have the vaccinations for the papiloma virus as it has almost eradicated the problem in some countries.”
Sandy’s husband is from Beattock and attended Moffat Academy before he moved with his family to East Africa then Australia. His grandparents used to live at 38 High Street in Lockerbie, where they had a bike shop.
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