Period Story Podcast, Episode 64, Molly Broache: Cervical Cancer Is Preventable

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in the US and the UK and I’m so pleased to share my conversation with Molly Broache, a women’s health nurse practitioner and associate director at BD, the medical technology and diagnostic solutions company. 

In the episode, Molly shares: 

  • The number one cause of cervical cancer 
  • The symptoms and risk factors for cervical cancer 
  • The importance of cervical screening as a cervical cancer prevention tool 
  • What happens if abnormal cells are found in the cervix 
  • How to empower yourself if you’re nervous about having a cervical screening 
  • And of course, the story of her first period! 

Molly says that cervical cancer is preventable and that if you’ve put off your cervical screening, get it booked ASAP! 

Thank you, Molly! 





Le’Nise: Hi, Molly. Thank you so much for coming onto the podcast today. I’m so excited to talk to you, hear your period story and then talk more about cervical cancer because it is Cervical Cancer Prevention Month and Awareness Month in the US and the UK. But first, let’s get into the story of your very first period. Can you tell us what happened? 

Molly: Le’Nise, It’s such a pleasure to be on today. Thanks for having me. So when I think about the story of my first period, what comes to mind is middle school. And I went to a middle school that had recently adopted a policy where we had to wear these light coloured khakis. So I was constantly on edge for when I was going to be blessed with my first period just because there was all this unknown about, you know, is it going to happen when I’m walking to the hallway or something like that? Luckily, it did happen at school. I remember that clearly. And unfortunately, I think the bathroom situations at schools is not the best. I did come prepared with a pad in my backpack so accidents were avoided, but I will say it was still like this sense of shock. I mean, I think I had learned about periods through family, friends, reading, not really through anything educational, but when it actually comes, I think there is this sense of shock and you’re like, How long is this going to last? Am I going to make it through the week of wearing my khakis without an accident? So yeah, I would say shock was probably the number one emotion associated with it. 

Le’Nise: And you said you were in middle school, so that was like about 12,13?

Molly: Yes, exactly. 13 years old, I believe. I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. It was seventh grade. 

Le’Nise: All right. Okay. So I would assume that you were kind of maybe amongst like the middle of the pack of your friends getting their period. And so you said that you had some education through family, through friends, so you knew it was going to happen. And what’s really interesting is that you were prepared. You had the pad in the backpack. So how did that come to be? How did you how did you have that sort of preparation? 

Molly: I think from a kind mom who, you know, made me prepared. I had an older sister as well, two sisters, four years older than me. So I had a clue of what what you had to have ready. I think I still worried, like, is this the right size again, going back to those darn khakis, like, is this still going to protect me so that I’m not out in the hallway with a stain on my pants? I think what I think, too, I mean, there’s a lot of uniforms. I mean, I would say both in sports and in school that are not female friendly. I mean, I know this has become a topic in the sports world, too, with like white shorts for female athletes and things like that. I think there’s never any thought to like these poor girls who, you know, are coming into this new stage in their life and trying to be as prepared as they can, and they’re not set up for success. So, yeah, but education was, I think, a combination of family and like some reading I had done even in like fiction books where like Judy Blume and things like that, where where she sort of refers to first period. 

Le’Nise : Yeah. Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret? Yeah, yeah. 

Molly: Yeah.

Le’Nise: Yeah, I read that as well. What you said about the uniform and what you’re wearing, having such an impact of your experience of of having a period is so interesting because last summer there was a whole conversation about wearing whites at Wimbledon and. 

Molly: That’s what it was.  

Le’Nise: Yeah. And there are actually football or soccer teams that actually change the colour of their shorts because they’ve said even like the mental side of wearing white when you have your period. It’s that paranoia, am I going to leak? And I’m just wondering because you it’s interesting that you brought that up as part of your first period story, whether wearing those light khakis did that kind of affect how you felt about yourself during your period. Was there a kind of paranoia about leaking? And then how did that carry through the way you thought about your period? 

Molly: Yes, I mean, it definitely I would say paranoia as well as just what I realise now is probably like anxiety. I don’t even think I probably knew as much about that term when I was in middle school. And it wasn’t just for myself. It was, you know, for other female and girl colleagues as not colleagues, schoolmates as well too. Because I think the issue in middle school and elementary school, you have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. So you cannot constantly be going. 

So, I mean, there were terrible situations where, you know, people needed to go and take care of things. And, you know, teachers would say, oh, you just left like 20 minutes ago. This didn’t happen to me personally. But I just remember with friends of mine and people I knew in my class, and it just was so scary because you sort of felt like you were out of control of the situation. And if you’re sitting there, things are just going to get worse. So, yes, it definitely provokes some paranoia and anxiety. And like if I were able to wear whatever I wanted, darker pants during that time would have been better. I think we heavily relied myself and the other girls on the fact that we had dark navy tops, often like cardigans and tying that around the waist. I think I pre-emptively did that like every time to the bathroom anyway. I mean, it’s it’s quite sort of crazy to think of now, honestly. 

Le’Nise: You got your first period when you were 13, you were in middle school and then what was the experience of the period actually like? Was it painful, was it heavy and then did that carry through to the rest of your teen years? 

Molly: So I luckily will not. So I mean, like sort of throughout my whole life, but in middle school, in my teenage years too, it was not super terrible. That’s at least something I did not have to deal with. I did run cross-country in high school. I didn’t do any sports in middle school, but it it I don’t remember it really making me have to take any time off of school of significance. So I will consider myself quite blessed there because again, that was not the experience for a lot of my friends and I felt terrible for them. And again, I mean, sort of related to that whole, you can’t just get up and leave whenever. I mean, it’s really hard to miss school. I mean, even in middle school, I was sort of in a rigorous academic program and taking, you know, 4 to 5 days off of school every month is just not acceptable. But so many girls were in so much pain that they really legitimately needed to. So, yeah, again, luckily personally, I, I was dealt a pretty good hand. 

Le’Nise: Yeah that that’s really interesting because you know carrying on the thread of like being a female athlete, you hear about so many female athletes losing their periods or their periods getting in the way of them participating in the sport that they want to participate in. But yeah, as you say, you were quite, quite blessed with not having any issues with your period. And then did that just kind of continue in just having a really easy period? 

Molly: I mean, I think some months definitely worse than others. I definitely get the, you know, premenstrual symptoms ahead of time, like the moodiness and all of that. But once it actually comes, sometimes I think I’m like relieved because I’m like, all right, I can expect what’s coming. 

Le’Nise: Yeah.

Molly: Yeah. I again, after I mean, being in the women’s health field myself and personally hearing all these stories, I think that’s also sort of opened my eye to, wow, I, I had it pretty good. 

Le’Nise: Yeah. And so it’s interesting now that you two, you do work in women’s health, you’re a women’s health nurse practitioner. And I’m just curious because a lot of people who do work in this space, they tend to have been inspired through either a personal experience or an experience of someone quite close to them. So what made you decide to get into this field? 

Molly: To be quite honest? My decision to enter women’s health revolved around my nursing school experience, where I worked on a labour delivery floor actually with a, you know, delivery of babies and all of that. And I absolutely love that. So I sort of entered in another angle, which was like the obstetrics angle which was fascinating and again, that’s an area of the hospital where everybody thinks it’s just, you know, happy little babies and happy moms. And there is so much more that goes on there. There is so much more complexity. And I think I realised that in nursing school and I mean, it’s such a special time in people’s lives, but it’s actually, you know, very prone to, to complications and things like that. So that was the area that I really wanted to go into after being in nursing school. 

Le’Nise: Yeah. And then you then also kind of moved into gynaecology. 

Molly: Oh, absolutely. Exactly. And to be honest there, I mean, my passion there really has been the cervical cancer screening like since the start. I think I have been fascinated. Like. Through my teen years and into adulthood about sort of the lack of knowledge about what actually happens during a pap smear, what we’re actually testing for all of that and the ability to be able to educate on that and make sure that people are getting the right testing, the, you know, vaccination, everything that there has been, again, very eye opening. And I think I like addressing fields where it sort of seems like there is a need for more education. 

Le’Nise: Yeah. Before we get into the discussion around cervical cancer, I’m just curious about your nursing background because you have a master’s in nursing and then you’re now studying for a doctor of nursing degree. And I’ve never I’ve never heard of that before. Can you, can you just talk a little bit about that? Because I think that, you know, on this podcast, we do talk a lot about, you know, different career paths as well as talking about periods. Can you just talk about, you know, your movement through this space? 

Molly: Yeah, absolutely. And I will say, even before, you know, nursing, I originally went to school for molecular biology. So like, I’ve always had a love for like science and research in general, too. And while I was working in the research field, like immediately post-college, I started volunteering in a hospital. And that’s when I decided, okay, I would like to switch paths and move more into a direct patient care setting. So at Hopkins, they have this one year accelerated nursing program, which was great. So I had my bachelor’s in biology and two years later I went on to get this bachelor’s of nursing from there again. 

Nursing school is sort of where I found that niche in the women’s health, labour and delivery world. So I worked as a nurse for several years and in different labour and delivery units and women’s health units. While there I think myself and a lot of other nurses decide, what’s the next step here? And that is generally a nurse practitioner. So the rules in the U.S. are sort of different state by state, but nurse practitioners generally have a lot of autonomy and how they can practice. My license was in Virginia, now it’s in Maryland. But I could prescribe medications, really treated like an independent professional. And again, that was all in the women’s health world, sort of split between pre-natal obstetric care and then gynaecological care. And actually once I started working in the medical diagnostics world at BD, I made that decision to enter a doctorate of nursing practice program. You know, one of the nice things about working at a medical diagnostics company, they actually help reimburse some of the costs because this is sort of furthering my education and should help my career at BD as well too. But the main difference, uou still are certified as a nurse practitioner. Like through your state. It’s the same way. Think the Doctorate of nursing practice. You’re really. It’s a part of the doctorate program. I’m sort of entering that step right now. You work on a quality improvement program, so you look for some sort of deficit in the health care system, ideally a solution to that. So not quite like a Ph.D. with a full dissertation, but there’s multiple semesters where you spend sort of developing the program, working with a site, and then sort of wrapping it all up with a final publication of sorts that can be presented at conferences and things like that. So it’s sort of like the capstone of the nursing career with that doctorate of nursing practice. 

Le’Nise: That’s really interesting because I don’t know if there something anything similar over here in the UK. I may be wrong, but I just I find it so fascinating the way you described being a nursing practitioner. And it seems very different to the way that nurses are viewed over here. It’s more kind of like entering the same space as a doctor in terms of being able to prescribe medication, diagnose. So that’s really that’s really interesting. 

Molly: Yeah.

Le’Nise: Talking all about one of the passion that you describe. So cervical cancer. So Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and Prevention Month is January. So this is a really timely conversation. Can you just talk a little bit about firstly, what cervical cancer is and some of the risk factors? 

Molly: Absolutely. And yes, I think this is like such an important time to be having this conversation because exactly, Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, January. So cervical cancer, obviously cancer of the cervix. The main cause of cervical cancer, though, and this is still a fact that’s not known by a lot of women. Virtually all cervical cancer is caused by a virus which is different than a lot of other cancers. And that virus name is called human papillomavirus. We can refer to it as HPV, easier term. And what’s interesting about HPV, though, is HPV is overwhelmingly common in the both male and female population. So I think, you know, CDC has said at some point, basically somebody probably has had an HPV infection and might not have even known about it. Maybe they were too young to be tested. We do now have the HPV vaccine that prevents HPV. Now, if you get the vaccine prior to exposure and HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. But essentially, HPV has to persist year after year after year to lead to cervical cancer. 

So one of the reassuring things about cervical cancer is through a combination of vaccination and screening. If you get the vaccination and or go in for regular screenings, your doctor or your nurse practitioner, your health care provider is likely going to catch any pre-cancer before it even has the chance to become cancer. And I think, again, that is cervical cancer is an awful disease. I mean, in the U.S., I know 4,000 women die every year. 14,000 women are diagnosed. So, unfortunately, some are falling through the cracks and not getting that screening. But I would say this is one of those diseases that, unlike some of those cancers that sneak up suddenly, like pancreatic cancer, things like that, through screening and vaccination really can be prevented. And I would say in our lifetime, hopefully eliminated. 

Le’Nise: And if someone’s listening to this and thinking, okay, that’s really interesting, but what are the some of the symptoms that I should be looking for? What would you what would you say to them? What are the symptoms of cervical cancer? 

Molly: Got it. So with cervical cancer itself, symptoms are often abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, discomfort during intercourse. But then so I would say there’s probably three most common. 

There’s often no symptoms at all, though, which is why this screening is so important. We really don’t want women to get to the stage where I’m going into the doctor because I’m having this awful pain and I’m having bleeding. The number one way to prevent this from ever even getting to that stage is to go in for your regularly scheduled cervical cancer testing at the intervals recommended by guidelines or by your practitioner. Because again, then then you won’t run into that. But those symptoms I’ve described are unfortunately, some of those late term symptoms. And again, that is unfortunately why we still have those deaths and still have those diagnoses, because, you know, due to disparities in care and lack of access to care, a lot of women are forced to just go to their practitioner once they reach that stage. 

Le’Nise: It’s really interesting you mention some of the symptoms that you mentioned because those overlap with symptoms of other conditions like fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis. You could have pain, you could have irregular bleeding. And something that I think will be challenging for a lot of women is that they’re struggling to get even a diagnosis with those conditions and then to say, okay, well actually these might also be symptoms of cervical cancer. That’s that’s tricky because we do, you know, there’s there’s a lot of conversation around the gender pain gap, the gender gender credibility gap. And so I think this awareness of the symptoms is really important. 

But what would you say to someone who, you know, they are already having issues, getting a diagnosis or having even having a proper conversation with their doctor about what they think might be happening to them and then adding kind of the potential of cervical cancer into the mix. What would you say to someone about that? 

Molly: Absolutely. And you’re absolutely right, the symptoms do overlap a lot. I would just say when they go in to see their practitioner, you know, if they’re not aware, if they’ve had a pap smear or cervical cancer screening within the last, I’d say 1 to 3 years. Like, say they’re switching to a new provider. I would encourage the woman to say, Could I please be screened for cervical cancer today using an HPV test? Because I know that HPV is the number one cause of cervical cancer. And I’m concerned that this could be a cause of my symptoms. I think we really we would hope that the doctors would offer a know this, but it’s you know, you don’t always have a patient’s full records and know what happened in the past. So I do think sometimes you have to be an advocate for getting that testing done. And I encourage women, and I think they would have a great response and they would get the testing done. And again, ideally that would be done with HIV testing, which is the most sensitive test to screen for cervical cancer. And then they could have that reassurance that, look, these symptoms are probably being caused by something else. And we need to go through that process of looking for exactly as you mentioned then, endometriosis, fibroids, things like that, that can also cause some of those symptoms. 

Le’Nise: So just talking more about screening because, you know, that’s a way to be proactive about your health. This is a topic that I find personally quite interesting because I just received a letter from the NHS. So the National Health Service in the UK advising me that I am due for my cervical screening. And so they say that in the UK you need to have a test every three years if you’re between 25 to 49 and then every five years if you’re between the ages of 50 to 64. So can you just talk a little bit about the process? So  it’scervical screening in the UK? I know that some people I go, I’m Canadian, so I grew up with it being called a pap smear. Yep. Can you just talk about that process? So what should someone if they’re going to have this done, what should they expect when they when they go for that that screening? 

Molly: Yeah, absolutely. I am so impressed that, you know, the NHS, NHS has that system of sending letters of providers. I wish we had that in the US. I think that would really help because I think some people legitimately do forget they’re due for a screening since there are longer intervals. 

Now, just as sort of a point of comparison in the US, ACOG and USPSTF, which is the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, ACOG, American College of OBGYNs, we actually they recommend screening starting at age 21. So at age 21, women would have a PAP test and then starting at age 30 and the pap test would be every three years. And then starting at age 30 in the U.S., you have something called either primary HPV testing where you go in and actually have an HPV test in the office, and then they run the PAP. If there’s any abnormalities in the HPV test or there’s co-testing done, which means you do pap and HPV together. But let me break that down. 

So when you go into the office that the term PAP, you know, it comes from Dr. Papanikolaou who actually invented this technology that really has transformed the world and reduced cervical cancer screening or cervical cancer deaths a ton since its invention earlier in the 1900s. But when we think about a pap, that is the actual process where you’re in the office, the doctor is actually collecting a sample of cells directly from your cervix and looking to see if there’s any changes in those cells that make them worried that there might be some sort of cervical pre-cancer going on. An HPV test is actually run directly off of that pap smear test that the doctor collects. So they’re just going into their electronic medical record system or their paper requisition form and requesting that the lab test for HPV. And HP, It’s usually tested by either DNA or RNA. So we’re actually looking at molecular material. And again, since this is that virus that causes cervical cancer, the thought is we want to look for the actual virus. So, you know, you’re going to be more worried if you see abnormal cells and a positive HPV test versus seeing abnormal cells and a negative HPV test, because, you know, on a PAP, you can pick up, even though you’re looking for cervical cancer, you can pick up all sorts of other things, too. I mean, I’ve had reports come back that say, you know, candida, which is like yeast, is present, or trichomoniasis, which again are things it’s good to know about, but that’s not actually the purpose of the PAP. The purpose of the PAP, the purpose of cervical cancer screening is to look for the disease that could subject a woman to pre-cancer or cancer. So generally. So yeah, you, you know, you go into the office, they’re going to collect a pap, if appropriate. And I think we’re getting to the point in the U.S. where HPV testing is being incorporated into more and more women’s screenings, which is great because, again, HPV testing, in my opinion, and that primary screening, that is the right way to test for cervical cancer because you are doing the more sensitive tests first. You are looking for the HPV, which is causing most of the disease. 

And then what will happen is if any of those results come back abnormal, your health care provider will likely give you a call and they’ll do, if necessary, something called a colposcopy. And that’s actually considered diagnostic procedure. And that’s when the health care provider takes a better look at the cervix to see if there’s any cells they want to remove. And they’re able to send those cells to a lab. And once in the lab they can sort of grade them to say, Oh, this is normal, or this is a low grade, high grade lesion. And then at that point, the decision can be made sort of on that grading, whether we’re going to give the patient time to see if it clears on its own or whether it’s a far enough progressed lesion that they’ll do something called an excisional procedure and remove the lesion. 

Le’Nise: Right. You get the the cervical screening done and if you get report back that there are abnormal cells, it’s not a cause for panic because there’s a kind of scale that you’re operating in where, as you say, they might just clear up on there on its own or, you know, there might be further procedures to be done. But it’s not a cause for panic. 

Molly: Exactly. But this is where I do want to mention, having extra information about what type of HPV you’re testing positive for really adds to, you know, your doctor’s ability to predict that risk for cervical pre-cancer. And there are tests, HPV tests now that have this technology called extended genotyping. So BD does offer one. It’s called the BD Unclarity HPV assay. It’s an FDA approved test. It’s CE marked as well. And what tests like that do is they look for more than five different types of what we call high risk HPV. And high risk HPV is the type of HPV that is directly associated with cervical pre-cancer and cancer. So by knowing which type of HPV you test positive for, so I will say types like HPV 16 and HPV 31 are particularly high risk. Knowing that information can really help your health care provider better manage the situation that’s going on with you versus just having we call it partial genotyping, which is some tests only look for two different types of HPV and then a big group of HPV separately. But again, this is empowering women to ask for tests with more information because they are available. And I think it really helps make that decision about whether you need further diagnostic procedures. 

Le’Nise: Yeah, so you’re, a lot of the information that you’ve shared will be really helpful for someone who is already feeling quite empowered when they go and speak to their GP or health care provider. But interestingly, in the UK, only one in three women take up their invitation to their cervical screening. So what would you say to someone who is nervous about going to have this done? They, you know, they’ve heard, oh, it’s really uncomfortable or, you know, it hurts, or they just have this kind of nervousness about going to the doctor. What would you say that would help them, you know, take that step to book an appointment and then feel really empowered when they get there. 

Molly: So you bring up such a valid and great concern there. And I just sort of wanted to reiterate the findings that you talked about with survey findings from the Harris poll that BD actually just conducted among 800 American women. And in our survey, in terms of knowledge on certain aspects of cervical cancer screening, 80%, 81% of women are unaware of what age or how often they should get a PAP test or an HPV test. So again, very true that there is this, you know, knowledge gap and also that people are not going in for a screening. 

So what are some ways to sort of address that hesitancy in going to the doctor’s office? One of the programs that we’re hoping to have in the U.S. and that currently exists in company or in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and actually many parts of Europe is something called HPV self sampling. So that would be where women are actually given a kit to collectthe HPV sample at home and then they mail it back to their doctor. It’s, you know, processed. And in the case that they’re HPV positive, that would warrant them going back into their health care provider for additional testing. But that is one of the future solutions to this issue. 

I would say, unfortunately, right now in terms of, you know, fear of of going to the practitioner or not wanting to go in, I mean, that is a real concern, which is why we are trying to come up with solutions like self sampling to reduce some of that. You know, a lot of people are in geographic regions where they can’t even access PAP and cervical cancer screening testing easier too. And now that we know, you know, HPV is this number one cause of cervical cancer. If we can just test for that at home and bring the right women in, that helps. But unfortunately, again, I completely understand. And there’s it is hard to, you know, if somebody really doesn’t want to go into the OB-GYN office, there’s probably little you can say to convince them. Hence, programs like self sampling becoming more relevant in the future. 

Le’Nise: But so what if it’s not. it’s not that they don’t want to go in. It’s just nervous. You know, they’ve had a negative experience with their GP. You know, something I hear a lot is they feel really just dismissed or diminished when they talk to their GP or their health care practitioner about what’s going on with their bodies and they’re just thinking, well I don’t want to go in and have another experience like that. What can you say? What would you say that that might give them a little bit of reassurance? 

Molly: A very good question. I mean, I think in a situation like that, I mean, and I’m not sure how easy it is to switch providers, but I think there are very caring providers out there that are willing to listen to patients. Unfortunately, it may take, you know, trying out a couple. 

But I would encourage people, hopefully that a couple of bad experiences don’t scare somebody away completely from getting cervical cancer screening because again, this is like, you know, one of the. I mean. Asymptomatic screenings, you really can completely reduce your risk of this pre-cancer progressing to cancer. So just encouraging women that the benefits should outweigh the risks and trying to find that correct provider that will listen to you and listen to your concerns because it might be hard. But I do think they exist out there. And there is, you know, truly medical professionals that really want to help people. 

Le’Nise: So really, you just think of this as something that is a pro active way of supporting your health, especially, with cervical cancer. Is there a kind of family genetic risk? So can this be passed on through families or is this solely via the HPV virus? 

Molly: So that’s a very, very good question. So cervical cancer screening, really 99% of the time is caused by that HPV virus. There is really no genetic or family link. Women who have had a family member who has had cervical cancer often are more motivated, made it more motivated patients to go in and get cervical cancer screening. But there is really no direct genetic link like what we see with breast cancer and some of the other genetic related cancers. So I guess that can be reassuring to some. 

That’s another reason, though, why getting the HPV vaccination at an early age, combined with going in for your regular cervical cancer screenings is so important because if you get that vaccine that prevents against HPV before you are exposed to HPV in your first sexual encounter, your risk for cervical cancer is very, very low. You don’t have to worry that you might be carrying some gene from your mom that’s causing cervical cancer or something like that. That’s a great question, though, because I think that is a common fear. And I will have patients come in and say, oh, my mom had cervical cancer, so I’m very worried I’m going to get it, because that is the case with a lot of other cancers. 

Le’Nise: Okay. So there’s no there’s no family or genetic link, but that that link does call for people, women to be more motivated to have this screening and be proactive about about the risk. That’s really interesting. So because this is cervical cancer awareness month, I think it’s really important that we’re having this conversation raising awareness of not only cervical cancer, but the screening and prevention. If there is one thought that you would like to leave listeners with amongst everything that you’ve shared. What would you want it to be? 

Molly: So I would just say that cervical cancer is preventable. It is a cancer that we can eliminate in our lifetime if we focus on cervical cancer screenings and just raise awareness that HPV testing is a critical part of cervical cancer screening. It’s really going to help assess that risk for cervical pre-cancer before it progresses to cancer. So when talking to your clinician, if you are, you know, over the age of 25 an HPV test, ideally one with extended genotyping that looks for more types of HPV should be a part of your cervical cancer screening appointment. So I just really want to empower women that to know the cause of cervical cancer, which is HPV and really to not be scared to make sure that when you go into the office, you are being tested in the right way so that we make sure that you never get this highly preventable cancer. 

Le’Nise: Great. I think that’s really important. And so if you’re listening and you’re thinking, Oh, when was the last time I had my cervical screening? That’s a sign that you need to call your doctor, get one booked in. It’s really easy. It’s really fast. It’s not painful, actually. That’s, one last question. It just feels like a little scratch, doesn’t it? 

Molly: Correct, I mean, I don’t want to minimise different people’s reports of discomfort, though. I mean, there is, you know, various ways that there could be discomfort presented with an exam like that. I mean, you know, psychological. I mean, it’s it’s an invasive exam, so it should not be painful. But I do want to recognise that. I mean, that can be a barrier to some women again, which is why we’re working really hard to come up with these solutions like self-collection, so that everybody with a cervix feels comfortable going in to get cervical cancer screening because there is a entire population that needs cervical cancer screening. And again, we want to address everybody who needs that. 

Le’Nise: Yeah, okay. 

Molly: But again, it should not be brutally painful or anything like that, but I do recognise that it is not the most pleasant thing. But if you know in the back of your head, you’re just thinking by going in here, if I have anything going on, any small pre-cancer, I’m going to catch it. It’s not going to get to that state of being cancer. So doing a really good thing for my body and to to to prevent a more serious issue from occurring. 

Le’Nise: Great. Thank you so much for coming on to the show today. I think this is a really important conversation. It’s very topical. And if even one person listening books in their screening, that is a success. So thank you so much again. 

Molly: Thank you, Le’Nise. I really appreciate the time today. 

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