University of Wolverhampton adult nursing lecturer Kelly Maritza lost a good friend to cervical cancer after ignoring the warning signs of lower back pain.
And in February 2021, Kelly experienced her own health scare when abnormal cell changes were detected in her cervix.
Kelly, who formerly worked for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, now ensures she books and attends all appointments.
The 41-year-old said: “I was so surprised as I had no symptoms whatsoever. Apart from having gynaecological issues in the past, which was nothing out of the ordinary and most women have, I did not expect to find anything. I think having a background in nursing as well you do tend to panic after hearing news like this.”
Luckily, Kelly required no treatment except to attend more regular smear checks every 12 months rather than three years to monitor any further cell changes.
She has praised her care from the service provided by Walsall Healthcare and in particular the support she received from cervical cytology outreach nurse Linda Hayes.
Kelly said: “I had negative experiences when having smears in the past and the place I usually went to had stopped providing the service.
“That’s when I was referred to Linda. She was fabulous and so accommodating. I don’t know what I would have done without her and this service; I can’t name one single fault.”
The mother-of-two added: “My advice to you all is to please book in as soon as you can. I think a lot of ladies are more anxious because they are embarrassed more than anything else but when having it done your dignity and privacy is always maintained and it’s also not even painful.
"It’s even quicker than getting a flu jab. For me personally, my daughter will be receiving her letter soon and I will make sure she books her smear straight away.”