In a bid to encourage women to attend their cervical screenings, the former Gogglebox star, 30, explained she was told she had HPV (human papillomavirus) after a cervical screening, and later underwent Lletz treatment to have the abnormal cells removed.
Scarlett said: ‘My friend who’s a nurse – Rachel – she said come back in three years [after her first cervical screening]. I went back and they said ”Oh, we’ve found that you’ve got HPV”.’
Candid: Scarlett Moffatt, 30, candidly discussed her HPV diagnosis and Lletz treatment during an appearance on Loose Women on Monday, saying she had ‘nasty cells [on her cervix] burned away’
The star continued: ‘When I spoke about this with my friends, no one talks about it even though eight out of ten people who are sexually active get it at some point in their life.’
Scarlett went on: ‘It’s got this stigma around it where no one knows what it is, and I had to then go to a screening every six months and I ended up having Lletz treatment which is sort of like where they burn away the nasty cells.
‘But obviously if I didn’t go for my cervical screening then who knows where that could have ended up.’
Touching upon the fact that many of her friends have yet to undergo their first smear test, Scarlett added: ‘I can’t believe how many of my friends – I’m talking 35, 36 – have never been for one. It upsets us so much because it doesn’t hurt.’
Encouraging: In a bid to encourage women to attend their cervical screenings, the former Gogglebox star explained she was told she had HPV (human papillomavirus) after a cervical screening
HPV infection – which is spread through close skin-to-skin contact, often during sexual activity – is extremely common. Up to eight out of 10 people will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives, according to Cancer Research UK.
It usually causes no symptoms at all and for most people, the body will clear the infection on its own. But for some it stays around for a long time and has been proven to cause certain types of cancer in some people.
In December, Scarlett candidly detailed how she had a Lletz treatment, saying she was ‘anxious’ and ‘scared’ before the procedure as she didn’t know what to expect.
Taking to Instagram, Scarlett said that she wished she hadn’t worried as it was over quickly and encouraged other women not to be concerned about having a ‘smear or for any follow up treatment’ as it could ‘literally save your life’.
Explaining that she wants to use social media for good and put some information out there about the procedure, Scarlett started explaining what had happened.
Speaking about abnormal cells, she said: ‘They can be easily treated if they’re caught quickly but if they’re not and you leave your smear tests, then it can be devastating and can literally be life or death.
Treatment: Scarlett told the panel that she later underwent Lletz treatment to have the abnormal cells removed
‘I know that sounds really horrific and I’m not saying that to scare you. I’m saying that to show you how this tiny procedure, which lasts no longer than five to 10 minutes – normally five minutes – can literally save your life.’
Scarlett then discussed her own medical history and told her fans: ‘I went for my cervical screening and it had abnormalities.
‘I’ve had abnormalities for a couple of years now and then it wasn’t getting better. It wasn’t healing on its own. So an amazing nurse called Rachel who I’ve seen from the beginning said to me, I think it’s best that you get some treatment on this.’
The star continued: ‘When I spoke about this with my friends, no one talks about it even though eight out of ten people who are sexually active get it at some point in their life’
Scarlett then chatted about the technicalities of the Lletz treatment saying: ‘They get an electric loop wire and remove all those nasty pre-cancerous cells… and I’m quite an anxious person and when I was looking for information on this I found a little bit online.. and on YouTube it was all weird stuff so I thought I’ll do a video.
‘You can be given an anaesthetic but due to the Covid situation and you’d have to self-isolate, I went for the local anaesthetic which they administer into your cervix.
‘This sounds so scary and I’m not going to lie to you, because it was the unknown and I hadn’t heard anyone talk about this, I was so nervous. I cried, cried some more, literally cried so much,’ she candidly added.
Honest: In December, Scarlett revealed that she’s had abnormal cells removed from her cervix after having a smear test
What is the Lletz procedure?
The most common treatment for removing abnormal cells is Lletz.
This is stands for large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ).
Lletz is also called loop diathermy, loop cone, loop biopsy or loop excision.
It involves removing the abnormal cells using a thin wire loop that’s heated with an electric current.
Usually the procedure is done while the patient is awake, with local anaesthetic injected into the cervix to numb it.
After having Lletz women are advised to avoid driving for 24 hours and using tampons and having sex for four weeks.
It is also advised to have another cervical screening in six months.
She also said that her boyfriend Scott Dobinson supported her throughout the treatment, saying: ‘Scott was like, ”come on, you can do this, it’s really important”, so I braved up.
‘And the nurse said I could have gas and air to take the edge off it although literally its an injection so you might feel a bit of discomfort but then the numbness kicks in.’
Scarlett added: ‘It’s such a simple procedure that is maybe heightened in our own minds because it’s such a sensitive and personal area but honestly, doctors and nurses see those bits all the time.
‘It’s so important that if they say there’s a treatment that can help prevent cancer, you take it…’
Speaking again about the procedure, Scarlett said: ‘Just make a joke of it, I know even saying it sounds so daunting but it’s really not, it’s just another thing to do at the hospital… And then it’s over.
‘I really worked myself up about it and I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d seen a video like this so I knew there was actually nothing to be scared of.
‘It’s weird because you sort of fear the unknown. They took a biopsy, took all the abnormal cells out so fingers crossed all comes back well with that.’
She finished up the video by saying: ‘I might have some spotting and you’re not allowed any sexy time for four weeks and you can’t go in hot tubs, but then after that everything’s fine and dandy.’
Alongside the detailed video posted to her grid, Scarlett penned: ‘I really hope this helps at least one person. I scouted everywhere to find a video on this treatment to get rid of abnormal cells from your cervix and I just couldn’t.
‘I was scared about the unknown & wish someone had told me that it really isn’t bad or painful at all. A bit of discomfort that’s it, so please watch this & promise me you will go for that cervical smear or for any follow up treatment. It’s so important my lovely ladies ❤️ you’ve got this’.
Scarlett has always been open about her own smear tests and revealed in July that she may have to have her abnormal cervical cells removed.
Important: Scarlett pleaded with viewers to get their smear tests