VERITY LUSH: If your smear test is due, call the GP now

Don't miss your smear test because you're embarrassed
Don't miss your smear test because you're embarrassed
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It’s been in the news that the number of women missing smear tests has risen. One third of younger women are not going for them.

Ladies, if you are reading this and have missed a smear, then go and get it done.

The smear test is over within two minutes. The nurse doing it will be female. She has a cervix, and therefore smears are taken from her too, and she most likely spends all her days looking at other people’s.

She doesn’t care what your’s looks like because she’s already seen 20 others that day. Drop your pants and get checked out. If yours is due then put this paper down and ring the GP now.

A smear provides approximately four seconds of discomfort, then it’s over. And it can save your life. Hell, if four seconds – even four hours – of pain saved my life, then I’d still be up for it.

If you’ve had children then you’ve no dignity left anyway, no crevices un-probed or prodded. And the folk doing this are professionals. Seen one vagina, seen them all. And they have seen literally hundreds.

When I was 24 (they did smears younger in those days), I had abnormal cells spotted on a smear and they were removed.

They were a CIN3 grade which, according to the consultant, meant they had the possibility to turn into cancer in perhaps 15 years – or maybe even never. If I had not had those removed, then last year that 15 years would have been up. And boy would I have regretted my decision to miss that smear. Especially as, no doubt, I’d have missed it through something inane like going to the cinema, or being ‘too busy’, or not wanting to drop my knickers and lie down legs akimbo.

Given that the human race continues apace, then we can assume most women of 25 (the age at which smears begin) and older, are indeed sexually active.

In which case, if you’re letting another human see your privates, then at least ensure it’s one who can help you to potentially save your life.


While on my medical theme this week, I’d also like to remind gents out there that you need to remember to get things like prostates checked too.

You may recall the old ‘don’t die of embarrassment’ slogan? Well that sentiment still stands.

Humans are dreadful at believing they are the only ones with willies, and bottoms and bits and bobs. Well, we all have some combination of those, so where’s the shame?

Needing to wee more at night, a weaker flow, difficulty passing urine.

These are all symptoms of benign prostate enlargement but need to be checked by a professional who has felt plenty of prostates and probably sticks their finger up many bottoms a day.


The human capacity for shame is overwhelming. How many of us sit and worry that we are the ‘only one’?

It might be behaviour, or something we have said, or it could be linked to our appearance, but all of us have felt and do feel embarrassment at different – and frequent – times in our lives.

As you get older, possibly (no sweeping statements), women seem to become less embarrassed.

My female friends and I discuss all manner of the ridiculous, and I wonder if this links to the nature of our friendships and also the total loss of dignity one encounters after having given birth.

It is as though, once every orifice has been peered down, one becomes more immune.