Smear Test

I hope I’ve posted in the right area. I was diagnosed in November 2012 with IDC , 19mm, no lymph gland involvement & clear margins. I had a lumpectomy and 15 sessions of Radiotherapy. My cancer was oestrogen positive so I have been prescribed Letrozole for 5 years as I am past my menopause.

I went for a routine smear test last week and unfortunately the nurse couldn’t get a sample as both a medium and small speculum proved to be too painful. The nurse has prescribed me oestrogen pessaries and has asked me to take them for two weeks and then book another smear test.

I assumed as she had my history on record that this would be ok, but when I went onto the Macmillan BC forum to ask if another other ladies had a similar problem with their smear test, I had a barrage of people telling me not to take the oestrogen pessaries before checking with my BC Nurse/Oncologist.

I’m obviously very anxious about the smear test but also worried about taking oestrogen pessaries when my BC was oestrogen positive.

I’m due to pick them up on Wednesday but I don’t want to proceed with them if they’re not safe but also wonder about alternatives ? Has anyone had a similar experience ?

Cat x

Hi Feebs
Along with the replies you may have here you are welcome to call our helpliners to talk your concerns through, lines are open weekdays 9-5 and Saturdays 10-2 on 0808 800 6000

Best wishes
Lucy BCC


Not sure what oestrogen preparation you’ve been prescribed but here is a link to the Patient Information Leaflet for Vagifem, a commonly used locally-applied HRT.  The leaflet states categorically that it should not be used if you have or have ever had breast cancer or if you have or have ever had an oestrogen sensitive cancer.


I suggest you wave this under the nose of your Practice Nurse.


Good luck.

Would a non-hormonal lubricant work?  I use Replens on a regular basis to combat vaginal dryness.

I have been using Replens since chemo in 2009/10 (and latterly ‘Yes’).  Unfortunately this did not help the Practice Nurse get a suitable sample at my smear test (especially as I was told not to use it for a few days before the smear because it could affect the ability to get a good sample, ironically). 

Thanks so much for all the advice, it’s been so helpful. I must admit I’m a bit daunted about how this rotten smear check is going to be achieved :frowning: