I suppose they follow a screening programme here in The Netherlands? As a lady in her early 40's when will I be called up for a smear test?
Hello smear tests are called every 5 years in The Netherlands by the ministry of health I believe. You receive a letter letting you know when your turn has come from your doctor's practice. They usually ask you when your last one was when you register at the doctor's.
Now if you have a history of medical issues ( or it runs in your family) you can request it more frequently. If this is really important to you I would suggest discussing it with your doctor.
It was the assistant doctor who did the test for me this year. A friend of mine has managed to convince her doctor to do it once a year just like she would back home.
I was also disappointed by the lack of frequency compared to the yearly check ups I used to get but I can't say that I miss the test itself!
If you have had an abnormal smear test you can ask to have your smears on a more regular basis, a friend had hers done every year with her GP here.
Hello ladies, what I read from Dutch websites is that the tests are routinely called for women age 30 to 60. Because it is not done regularly here, campaigns are now run to convince women of why it is important to go for the test. One of the excuses given here is that it is too intrusive for most women.
When I first enquired about it 6 years ago, we were planning a baby and I wanted to take the test and then try for a pregnancy knowing that I was healthy. My doctor told me that if I had abnormal bleedings or pain he would have me take a papsmear right away but otherwise that I did not need one unless I had a record of gynecologycal problem or my female relatives did.
I agree that it makes sense to offer it to sexually active women from the beginning. I wish it were offered more frequently, not a lot of emphasis is put on prevention here I feel. If you are already showing early signs through symptoms is it not too late already?
The answer I had from the nurse who did mine this year is that cervical cancer takes a long time to progress contrary to breast cancer. This is just a very rationalized way of drafting a policy to miminize costs and covering care for those most at risks. It does leave gaps for women who are supposedly not at risk.
I still think that if it is important to you, you can convince your doctor to have one more often.
I am amazed that the Dutch women feel that a smear test is intrusive!! This is the country that offers no gown when you have a mammogramm and expects you to share a hospital ward with men! Surely as women we have a lot more intrusive experiences! I think it's down to the Dutch attitude to non preventative screening and trying to keep costs down!