Ashley’s Story

I was 21 years old when I had my first abnormal Pap test. I was told I had ‘CIN2’ – a moderate grade cell abnormality which required treatment. Naturally I turned to ‘Doctor Google’ and became quietly terrified as the word ‘cancer’ was E V E R Y W H E R E.

I was first treated with ‘cold coagulation’ where the abnormal cells are destroyed by a heated probe. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful and 6 months later, I was back for a ‘LLETZ’ procedure. I chose to have both of these done under local anaesthetic and was awake throughout the procedures. The nurses and doctors were amazing and kept me calm and distracted during the treatments. It was all done and dusted in a matter of minutes.

Now I have had 4 years of normal Pap tests and I know now to look out for any warning signs. My only symptoms at the time were cramping, other than when I was on my period, and occasional bleeding after sex. I am so so grateful that I saw my GP before things escalated. It has taught me to listen to my body and I have since had a liver tumour removed! I am now happy and healthy and am passionate about encouraging all girls to get their Pap tests regularly!

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

I am also a practicing midwife, please do not be embarrassed or nervous about getting a Pap test. For all the health professionals who do them, it’s just another day at the office! Their priority is YOU! Don’t ignore symptoms and listen to your body!!!