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Keep Calm and Get Your Pap On!

“I can’t wait to get my pap test!”

“Finally, it’s pap day! YAY!!!”

These are the less common reactions to getting pap tests. They’re more necessity than walk in the park and you don’t get a lollipop after your visit, which the medical board should totally reconsider, methinks. They do, however, save lives.

Cervical cancer is almost entirely preventable with regular pap tests. So, we’re taking the awkwardness out of paps by starting a dialogue online and reminding our lady friends to #getthepap in honour of Cervical Cancer Awareness Week happening Oct 21 to the 27th.  We encourage you to do the same by tweeting your thoughts on pap tests and cervical cancer to #getthepap!

Getting the word out helps. In the last twenty years, incidence rates have declined by 58% in women aged 20 – 69! However, that still means that this year in Ontario there will be an estimated 610 new cases of cervical cancer, and approximately 150 resulting deaths.

It is recommended that every woman over 21 (or earlier, if you’re sexually active) should begin getting regular pap tests, every three years. And we don’t want to hear your excuses anymore – “I’m too young” or “I’m too busy.” “If something was wrong down there I’d know…” Truth is, if this is your tune, you need to re-evaluate and get yourself to a doctor. Early detection is everything, and momentary contact with a stirrup followed by a swab from your doctor should hardly be a deterring factor in ensuring that you’re healthy and happy.

 Tips to make the pap a little more fun, or at least, a little less awkward:

* Prior to appointment, find a soundproofed space – scream “VAGINA” three times. It will relax your jaw (where many of us carry tension) and is guaranteed to make you laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Try screaming once now.

* Doctors see so many vaginas a day. Like, let’s estimate and say 10. That’s probably how often you check your watch. And, like I always like to say, vaginas are just like watches: we all have ‘em, and we all use ‘em. NO BIG DEAL.

* During appointment: relax and breathe deeply. Think of golden retriever puppies frolicking in a field wearing pumpkin costumes. Though, it could be any puppy frolicking in any type of gourd costume. And before you know it will be over.

* If you’re looking for a fun icebreaker, ask the doctor if he/she can hear the ocean as they insert the speculum.

* Once the deed is done, treat yourself! Enjoy a Venti extra-everything latte that you’re usually just a little too frugal to order. Grab a handful of your favourite magazines or a great book and have a solo lunch at your favourite resto. BUY A COUCH. Why not?

For more info visit the Canadian Cancer Society of Ontario

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