x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A routine test can save your life

Gabriella Reynolds decision to go for regular pap smears saved her life.

Gabriella Reynolds with her son Sam, left, and daughters Emma, centre, and Tess, right, at her villa in the Gardens in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Gabriella Reynolds with her son Sam, left, and daughters Emma, centre, and Tess, right, at her villa in the Gardens in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

ABU DHABI // Gabriella Reynolds knows just how important Pap smears are. The screening process saved her life.

She was only 30 when the routine test picked up the early stages of cervical cancer. "I was very lucky because let's say I decided not to go for the test? Sometimes you forget and sometimes you think 'I should be going but I will do it in a few months, I'm busy'. It definitely saved my life," said Ms Reynolds, a Dubai resident from Germany.

Ms Reynolds was living in France when the discovery was made in 2003, and underwent surgery to have the affected part of the cervix removed. "At the same time they did a biopsy of the uterus to see if it was affected or not. That was the scariest part for me," said Ms Reynolds, who is now 40.

Thankfully, the biopsy results were clear and she has gone on to have three children.

A few months after the surgery, Ms Reynolds moved to Dubai. But she has continued to have regular tests. For two years after surgery she was required to go for Pap smears every three months. Now, she has them every six months.

Ms Reynolds is an enthusiastic supporter of calls made by Dubai doctors for an organised screening programme to be established in the emirate to ensure women in a certain age group are called up on a regular basis.

"They call me to remind me to go and have my car registered. Do this for screening as well," she said.

"My advice to other women is to go. I know quite a few women who don't go on a regular basis, either they forget or say 'I will go next month or next year'. Put it in your diary. Why take the risk?"

ecleland@thenational.ae