After losing a friend and having her own health scare, University of Wolverhampton Adult Nursing lecturer Kelly Maritza is urging people to get their routine smear done.
Kelly, who formerly worked for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, knows all too well the importance of attending regular routine smear checks.
Even more so after her own personal experience of losing a good friend a couple of years ago to cervical cancer who had put down their lower back pain to wear and tear only to then realise they had advanced stages of cancer when attending ED.
Kelly, 41, has always made sure to book and attend all her appointments and after one appointment in February 2021, she was called back in and told that they had not detected cancer but had found ‘early changes’. Early changes are when there are abnormal cell changes in the cervix.
She said: “I was so surprised as I had no symptoms whatsoever. Apart from having gynaecological issues in the past which was nothing out of the ordinary and most women have I did not expect to find anything. I think having a background in nursing as well you do tend to panic after hearing news like this.”
Luckily Kelly required no treatment except to attend more regular smear checks every 12 months rather than three years to monitor any further cell changes.
She has praised her care from the service provided by Walsall Healthcare and in particular the support she received from Cervical Cytology Outreach Nurse Linda Hayes.
She said: “I had negative experiences when having smears in the past and the place I usually went to had stopped providing the service.
“That’s when I was referred to Linda. She was fabulous and so accommodating. I don’t know what I would have done without her and this service; I can’t name one single fault.”
The mother-of-two added: “My advice to you all is to please book in as soon as you can. I think a lot of ladies are more anxious because they are embarrassed more than anything else but when having it done your dignity and privacy is always maintained and it’s also not even painful. It’s even quicker than getting a flu jab! For me personally, my daughter will be receiving her letter soon and I will make sure she books her smear straight away!”
Linda works across Walsall with a number of GP practices to enable women to take advantage of their screening test but in addition to this, works in an Outreach Capacity and will make home visits to women who are unable to access GP appointments. This may be women who are sight impaired, have a learning disability or experience mobility issues. She is also able to support women who have suffered FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) who, understandably, have a fear of clinical environments.
For further information or a chat in confidence please contact Linda on 01922 602610/07814 986176 or email: email@example.com