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Postby SarahC » Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:15 am

*cringe*

A lot of talk this morning following the news of Belinda Emmett, encouraging us girls to go to the doctor for our regular female health checks :shock:

I am the world's worst here. I'm 29 and have never, never, never had anything checked at all! I think could handle the breast examination (gosh, no pun intended there :lol: )... but the other just doesn't bear thinking about :shock:

I wonder how many of us on this forum actually go to the doc's regularly for this kind of thing?

Maybe it's something that we should consider doing, or doing more often, in honour of Belinda....
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Postby KimE » Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:29 am

Used to have them regularly then dropped to every 8-9 years as I built it up to be scary and uncomfortable. The last time I did it was Jan 2005 as I had some particularly nasty period pain one day. I mean so bad I could barely breathe through the pain and this was the 2nd time it had happened to me although the previous time was 10 years prior. The doc suggested a pap smear just to get that side the all clear. I built it up so much in my head and the doc I went to was fantastic, no fuss and it all went smoothly I felt a little silly why I had been so worried. All was clear and I vowed then to go every 2 years. Then in July 2005 found out I had a rather large cyst on my left ovary (20cm) and during the check ups and lead up to going in for surgery I had to go through many internal exams and ultrasounds and at the Royal Womens Hospital (who were fantastic by the way) you don't get to choose if the doc is male or female so I got over having examinations and got over having to go to female docs only. Next one is due Jan 2007 so not far off at all.

I haven't found them to be painful just a little uncomfortable and I find it hard to relax. The thing is when you relax it is less uncomfortable. I find now I would rather know if something is wrong so we can jump on it before it is too late. Ladies do it for your health!
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Postby Dolly » Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:17 am

I have a pap test every second year
and because I'm in a high risk group I have to have a mammogram every year (my poor flat bosoms)
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:37 am

Hi sarah its important to be aware of our bodies. even though im only 21 i regularly check my breasts and my neck for lumps, and i also get a pap smear every two years -its coming up to my next one due on xmas eve! alot of women feel uncomfortable about these examinations but i know after having a baby all my modesty and dignity has flown out the window!! as gross as it sounds ive had that many medical professionals with hands up there that it doesnt bother me now- they have seen it all!!

also with my pcos i am at a higher risk of developing cervical abnormalities so its a priority for me.
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Postby Mandie » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:16 am

As an (almost!) doctor, I will say we should ALL be having regular check ups!

(that's a pap smear, once every two years, and a breast examination by your Doctor at the same visit. And check your own breasts monthly or so)

Personally - I too struggled with the pap smear thing.. no, it's not the most pleasant thing in the world but it's a hell of a lot more comfortable than CANCER!

As someone else mentioned - the more you can relax your legs (think happy thoughts!) the less uncomfortable it feels. It should NEVER be painful, always tell your doctor, a good doctor will change positions/instruments and make sure you are not in pain!


As for breast examinations - personally I check for lumps every day in the shower, but that's just me, I'm a paranoid med student. Remember, breasts can be naturally lumpy (especially around your period) but if you are worried, GET IT CHECKED!


Breast cancer is tricky, but the earlier it is picked up, the better the outcomes!

And as for cervical cancer - it is one of the few almost entirely preventable cancers in the world.. it grows slowly, so two yearly pap smears is enough to be able to pick up the pre-cancer lesions... if these are noted, you are just monitored closely for a while, as many disappear by themselves. If they progress, simple laser treatments (under local anaesthetic, in the gynaecologists office) can be performed and you are CANCER-FREE!

If you NEVER get a pap smear, and leave it for years... you might find you have a really advanced case of cancer.. then you would need a hysterectomy (goodbye chance of having children, hello early menopause), and possibly chemotherapy and radiotherapy. And yes, cervical cancer CAN spread to the lungs, the bones, the gut (anywhere!) and yes, it CAN kill you.

So ladies - GET A PAP SMEAR EVERY TWO YEARS (the first being 2 years after you first have censored)

/end rant.
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Postby Puffer » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:56 am

I went and had my first pap smear because my boyfriend said he would tell his mum and get her to make me go if I didn't :oops:

It really isn't that bad, the (female) doctor also checked for abnormalities which is alot more intrusive (instead of just using an instrument they stick their hand in and really go for it checking your ovaries etc). She also checked my breasts at the same visit.

I guess you just get over it after awhile. It helps me alot that the doctors arn't uncomfortable and they do this all the time. I also get brazilians every now and then and I think the same thing about the beautician - she chose this job, and she does it all the time and if she is comfortable there is no reason for me not to be!
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Postby Mandie » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:03 pm

Too true Christina...

Doctors do this ALL THE TIME!

Think you're fat? We've seen fatter.

Think you've got too much hair? We've seen hairier.

etc etc

To be honest, I hardly even notice these things anymore.. its just doing the job and after the first couple you get totally over it. It's a completely normal, healthy thing to get done for yourself, the doctor just does his/her job, and it's over for two years!
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:20 pm

i would love to get a spray tan but dont want to stand there in my underwear. if i dr did spray tanning i would get it done but with a beautician i dont think id feel comfortable!
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Postby Mandie » Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:50 pm

Kate - maybe that could be a reward when you get to your goal weight? You are so close.. another month or two and you'll be there!

And don't worry - the beauticians see all sorts of body shapes and sizes, and they don't care about how you look as much as you think they do!
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Postby Garfield » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:05 pm

Just a note: don't whinge about getting a pap smear every 2 years. My very first pap smear came back with some irregular cells so I have to have one every 6 months instead of 2 years for a couple of years or so. So basically if I can go through it four times in 2 years, you can all do it once :p
It's not that bad. I'll echo just about everyone here and say that it's important to look after your health.
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Postby SarahC » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:23 pm

Arrgghh.. four times in two years :shock:

I go to the dentist every six months. It's important to look after your teeth otherwise you can't eat :lol: :lol: Give me a thousand needles in my teeth anyday. And a huge drill, like the kinds you get in Bunnings :!:

Looks like I'm dying of cancer.... just can't do it :cry:

You guys are just so brave, I am impressed :o
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Postby Ally » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:48 pm

I hope everything goes well for you Garfield, and you are right it is far better to be checked out than not. I am due for one very soon and although I dread it I know that it has to be done!
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Postby Garfield » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:42 am

Oh my gosh, Sarah! You can handle going to the dentist so easily but you are worried about a pap smear?! Pap smears are much easier than going to the dentist, they're not even painful like the dentist usually is. It will take less than 60 seconds... not sure, never timed it lol, but it's not a long time. The doctor I went to for my first one explained everything to me first, showed me on a little model what she'd be looking at, showed me the instrument thingy (forgotten its name). She really calmed me down and everything was easy. Seriously Sarah, it's not as scary as you think. Try and go for one some time, just to check that everything's alright.
Yeah, no worries Ally. The last 3 have come back normal, but they're sending me to some kind of specialist in january just to be sure. I think the doctor is making a fuss over nothing, I'm sure it will all turn out fine :D
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Postby kate_turner2000 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:11 am

geez your lucky garfield. at my first pap smear it was a male gyno/ob and he went off at me for not having had one since i was first sexually active! lol. he made me have one then and there without even being prepared lol.
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Postby Ally » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:11 pm

I say better for the doctor to over react mate than not act at all!!!
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