Breast Cancer Haven
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Painful smear test

Hi everyone, I'm now 12 months post treatment for triple negative cancer and everything looks ok-or as my oncologist put it" we remain hopeful!!!"(don't know what to make of that!),my problem is unrelated but was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this.Today I went for a smear and it was so painful the nurse had to abandon it,she didn't get the sepulcum thingy open before the pain was excruciating and I told her to stop,we tried 3 times and it was so painful.Now I will have to go back to a different nurse in 2 weeks time.Im no wimp I've done chemotherapy and radiotherapy and painful lumpectomy but I can't do that again.Is there a link between this pain now and the menopause after chemo,I'm 48 and now I am single so maybe something's changed.I know the importance of the tests as I had an abnormal one before my breast cancer which turned out to be a polyp which was removed and tested,came back clear.

Any ideas or tips ladies?luv Vicky.

7 Replies

Hi. Sorry about your troubles. I had a couple of thoughts. Changes in hormone levels can make the skin down there thinner, was she using the right size speculum for you, and maybe she just wasn’t good at it? Ask the doctor if you would benefit from some oestrogen cream? Practice relaxation techniques? I had a doctor once who abandoned the test (he just got cross and walked off). A nurse did it the next time I booked and it was ok. Do you have a sexual health clinic near you? They would do more tests than a GP practice and might have more experienced practitioners? Anyway, hope you have better luck next time. All the best.


It all changes after chemotherapy and menopause. Unfortunately I’m in the same boat!!

The vaginal walls get thinner so if you can take an oestrogen pessary it will help a little. Let me know how you get on....


Agree with Mores64. Peseries are often the answer. I have Vagifem on prescription. Used before my breast cancer (Triple Negative) treatment and continued afterwards. Although they are usually hormones the dose that might enter the rest of your body is very very low. But the short answer is don't put up with it. Your GP will be very familiar with the problem and hopefully have a solution for you. It's not as serious as the cancer but Smear tests etc. as well as other pleasure should not be off limits just because you are post menopausal.

Keep smiling and good luck.

Mary X

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I had an attempt at a smear, it was carried out by the dr, it was abandoned, it hurt like hell, the nurse said come back in a week and she’d do it, she was amazing, it hurt a bit, but she managed to do it.It is impotent to keep them up to date, so maybe talk to your health team beforehand to see it than can prescribe something to help.


thanks everyone,ill ask about it before my next appointment,thanks for your support to an embarrassing problem.luv Vicky.x



If you go for the cream, you may have to get it on prescription and take it for 2-3 weeks before your smear test so you might want to ask your GP for the prescription straight away. I used it successfully but they forgot to tell me not to use it the day before my smear test. I also took painkillers the morning of my smear. I hope you find it possible to have a test with the cream. BW Caroline


I don't know about the smear side of things, but I do know that the Oncologists NEVER say, "Congratulations! You're cancer free forever!!" hedge their bets, that lot. You just do everything you can to be positive and healthy, and your chances of staying that way are as good as anyone's :)


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