At 24, Heather Keating was told she was “too young” to have a pap smear.
She dismissed irregular bleeding between her periods and after sex as a contraceptive glitch, even so she went to see her GP, just in case.
Her doctor told her she would need a pap smear, but to come back at 25, the age that testing becomes free for women living in the UK.
Unfortunately, Heather’s symptoms became worse, the bleeding got heavier and she went back the doctor three months later, having developed anaemia.
She was then referred on to a gynaecologist, who gave her a pap test.
The results came in and she was asked to return to the hospital.
“This is when I began to worry,” she wrote in a piece for the Independent.
“I was brought into a nice, quiet, little room with a couch and a box of tissues on the table. I told myself: this is it. This is the room where people get bad news.”
Heather was told she had cervical cancer.
“It felt like the floor was gone from underneath me,” she said.
“I looked at my mum with her eyes beginning to fill with tears. My heart was broken, and all I could think about was my family. They didn’t deserve this, to have to care for me through this awful experience.”
If you’ve been putting off getting a pap smear, let the ThinkerGirls remind you that it’s not so bad (post continues after video):