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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

'Embarrassing' test likely saved housewife's life

Having a Pap smear can be a disconcerting experience but it could save your life.
Asia One - March 13, 2013
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'Embarrassing' test likely saved housewife's life

Madam Raja Rafiaah found this out first-hand after a test caught her cervical cancer early. "Pap smears are embarrassing, it's true," the 51-year-old admitted. "But for the sake of health, one must endure it."

The housewife had a hysterectomy at Singapore General Hospital to remove her uterus after her Stage 1 cancer was detected during a test last June.

So far, she is free of the disease, with a Pap smear two weeks ago coming back negative.

The soft-spoken woman, who has been going for the test every two years since she was 40, has been experiencing the occasional brown discharge for the past four years.

Several Pap smears and other tests showed no signs of cancer.

Doctors instead found polyps near the cervix - benign tumours which were removed.

Still, she persisted with her regular screening. "Friends told me that the discharge might be a sign of menopause," she said.

"But I didn't want to take any chances."

The mother of five did not start to get screened until the age of 40 because she believed she would not get the disease - despite having four siblings who were struck with various cancers.

"I was still young and felt positive that I wouldn't get cervical cancer."

She said many women are also too shy to get tested. "Don't be afraid," she advised. "You must do something for yourself, your own health."

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