I'm new to this kind of discussion so please be patient with me. 
I was diagnosed with metastasic breast cancer last year. So far with chemotherapy I feel relatively good. But now it is the time of a PAP smear and I so don't want to do it. I'm so scared they find anything. Not that there are any reasons to believe they would.
Last time after a PAP smear the nurse called me to make an appointment with the words I really hate
"there is nothing to worry about". I ended up in hospital with an anxiety attack. In the end after an gynological examination everything was fine. But after 5 years of Tamoxifen I couldn't be sure.
I'm not taking that drug anymore.
Do I really have to go or can I ignore the annoying letters from the PAP smear register?
What do you think?
A good advice is appreciated.
Thanks to all


  • NeNe Member Posts: 337
    Dear Sabine, I hear the anxiety in your post and am so sorry that you have to endure these frightening memories.  I think knowing what I know now we should give ourselves every opportunity to stay on top of our health and do whatever possible to reduce our risk of any kind of new or recurrent cancer.  In my humble opinion, if you ignore them you will probably worry about 'what if".  You would be devastated if your had the opportunity to check something but ended up not doing it out of fear and then get a diagnosis later when prevention is then impossible and treatment options become less effective.  I would say, do it afraid, just do it.  Get someone to go with you to hold your hand and to be there for the results too.  Get a friend or relative that can stay calm and help you to be calm. 

    I was told for 12 months "I had nothing to worry about" before I was told my 'benign cysts' were 3 malignant tumors.  I wish I could have known earlier and prevented my cancer from spreading.  So I get your anxiety and fearfulnes of what has happendened to you in the past.

    Could you perhaps consider going for a hysterectomy if you have a fear of it spreading there? Sorry, I don't quite know the extend of how your cancer has metastesized or if this kind of surgery is even an option.  I really think you should have it checked hun.

    Lots of hugs and prayers for courage xxx
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,284
    Hello - sorry to hear of your diagnosis.  It is never easy!  It is always about taking a deep breath and trying to relax.  When I was first diagnosed I was put with a Counsellor and her words were if you are starting to feel anxious pat your legs and then pat your arms and as you are doing that you are saying to yourself this is me and yes I am here and you are bringing yourself into the now.

    Any tests that are recommended are vital to us as we work our way through diagnosis and treatment. 

    Take care and sending you a virtual hug

  • Ann-MarieAnn-Marie Member Posts: 1,158
    Hi @Landsmann I just wanted to pop in and let you know we have a telephone counseling service if you wanted to talk with someone, all you will need to do is give BCNA a call on 1800 500 258. We also have a private group living with metastatic breast cancer that you may like to join.
  • DeanneDeanne Sunshine Coast QldMember Posts: 1,999
    I totally understand your anxiety and think we all feel that way to some extent after a loss of faith (because of breast cancer diagnosis) in our health. I know I get much more anxious about any health test these days. But as you say, you know logically that there is no reason to think that there will be anything wrong.

    You know that you are feeling better on your treatment and lots of people have a good quality of life for many years after a mets diagnosis. So it is still important to look after the rest of your health. I would definitely go and have the Pap smear. Getting some support, like the other ladies have suggested, might be a great idea to help you feel ok about having this done. Whatever helps you feel better. Take care and let us know how you go. xxx
  • wendy_h67wendy_h67 Member Posts: 409
    Hi  I have to agree with the other ladies that it is better to know that everything is O.K .than not knowing by not having a pap smear test. I know your anxiety as I have suffered from it myself. I  was called back for a second test once because they didn't get enough cells the first time for a proper test. All was O.k  I  still get a bit anxious before having scans and test but I look at it this way, It is better to know and if there is something wrong ,there is always treatment for you.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,116
    I agree with the  others. The only thing I would  raise is to discuss with oncologist. I delayed  mine whilst  recovering from taxol as I bled easily and all membranes were delicate. I was concerned about bleeding when it was done. So just check in if that might be an issue. Otherwise a delay perhaps but not ignored. 
  • angg66angg66 Melbourne VicMember Posts: 147
    Hi Sabine. I'm in exactly the same situation as you. I have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer this year and am due a pap smear now. I've been putting it off for a few months. I don't really know why I'm hesitating. Maybe I can't handle more bad news. Maybe it's because the pap smear test is sooo uncomfortable!  But I know that I'll eventually have to get it done.... Ange 
  • LandsmannLandsmann Member Posts: 2
    Thank you all for taking the time to answer my post. It is wonderful to see that I'm not alone with my thoughts. Being surrounded by wonderful but healthy friends it is sometimes hard to get my feelings across.
    You all have me convinced to have my pap smear and I will have it. Next year. It will be my first project in the new year. For now I put it out of my mind and enjoy the Christmas time.
    All the best to all of you. Sabine
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,284

    That's good to hear!  Take care!
  • kayviekayvie Melbourne Member Posts: 157
    Good on you Sabine! 
  • ShareShare Member Posts: 217

    Well done Sabine - enjoy the festive time with your family and friends and put this on a list or make it a "New Year's Resolution" to view it as a project, not as an arduous task or something to endure.

    As the other ladies have said, sometimes it is the "not knowing" that is the worst as we tend to overthink everything now (tendency to look on the negative and not the positive after our bc diagnosis).

    Take care - enjoy this special time of the year.

    Sheryl xxx

  • Suzanne 2577Suzanne 2577 Member Posts: 7
    Hi Sabine, if you have an irregular pap, you can get it sorted quickly, so I would be having them every 6 - 12 months if you are worried.  Its when you go 2 - 3 years and find an issue, it could be too late.    I know so many ladies with irregular paps, that are often nothing and some had early intervention and are now fine.    So NOTHING to worry about.

    Good Luck
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,116
    Standard paps are 2 years unless multiple partners or a previous abnormal pap.
  • DeanneDeanne Sunshine Coast QldMember Posts: 1,999
    As of May next year the Pap smear procedures will be changing. I think for most people the checks will then be done at 5 year intervals. If you google changes to Pap Smear procedures you can read about the changes. Until May next year you should still have a Pap smear as normal if they are due. Don't delay it if it is due. But it is interesting to read about the changes. My gynaecologist told me about it at my last visit.
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