Cervical screening and oestrogen cream

Dear all, I wonder if anyone can give me some advice please?
I recently had a cervical screening test, and unsurprisingly, it came back as inadequate (insufficient cells). I was actually expecting this to happen - 5 years of Arimidex and 7 years of ovary removal are going to leave a legacy of atrophy!
Problem is, I need to have it repeated and in order to obtain enough cells I have been advised to have oestrogen cream/pessary before having it done. The concern is, my breast cancer was highly oestrogen positive, and I have spent the past 7 years eliminating as much oestrogen as possible with arimidex. because I am now off all medication, it makes me very nervous to use anything with oestrogen , although I undersatnd the absorption would be minimal.
Has anyone else been in this situation? I discussed with my BCN, who emailed the onc team , and was advised that it is my decision, and absorption would be small. I got the same advice from BCC, who suggest that I put this query onto the forum.
Any thoughts/experiences welcome! XXX

I am bumping this post on behalf of happyshopper as it has not been on latest posts due to the technical issues we are experiencing, please accept our apologies for this we are working to resolve them

kind regards


If it were me I’d be tempted to use the cream. I really understand your concerns but a one-off localised amount of oestrogen is really not going to make a difference in my opinion. I think they even give it to women who are having sexual difficulties as a result of hormone treatment so I don’t think it can be that high risk.

Happy shopper, I can relate to your predicament. I was due a smear test back in December and after 2 failed attempts have given up for now… The GP couldn’t even get the speculum to open up, let alone get a sample of any kind!

Oncs seem to differ greatly in their attitude to the use of topical oestrogen - some are totally against it for hormone positive women, whereas others accept that it may be a necessary risk. It also depends on how strongly ER+ your cancer is, of course.

I think that we all have to be comfortable and confident with our choices. If you’re not happy about the idea of using oestrogen, what about trying more natural, oestrogen-free remedies? Could something like Replens help? I’m currently trying coconut oil in the hope that I can eventually get a smear done in a couple of months’ time…

Good luck with your decision and your test!

Hi all,
Thank you so much for your comments. I decided against using the oestrogen cream - I had a highly oestrogen positive BC and having spent many years trying to wring out as much oestrogen from my body as I could, i couldn’t bring myself to volutarily put any back into my body!
I rebooked my test with one of the most experienced practice nuses, had a chat with her and she explained that she would use a different type of brush (for the cervical canal) and have a go that way, to try and get the necessary cells. She was brilliant - I can’t deny it wasn’t uncomfortable, but I would have much preferred this shortlived discomfort to the oestrogen cream.
I had my results back last week - it worked, and all fine!!
I wish there were clearer guidelines on this (I have really looked). This is going to be an ongoing issue for many women.
I do use replens (for day to day comfort) but it does not help the cells on the cervix to reproduce in the event of an inadequate sample, which the oestrogen cream does. i was very lucky that I had such a great practice nurse who was prepared to go the extra mile to help!! XX

Thank you for updating on this and I’m glad there was a solution, albeit an unpleasant experience. It has been a useful thread for me to read as I am due a smear test very soon and face similar issues.

Glad to hear it all worked out ok, Happyshopper.