When Alysia Reiner learned she had an abnormal pap smear, she was scared. “The scariest part is hearing you have an abnormal pap,” she recalls. “That’s really scary.” After getting her pap results back, her doctors gave her three months to do “natural healing stuff,” which resulted in her still having an abnormal pap.
But she wants people to know that even if you have less favorable results, you shouldn’t blame yourself. “That’s the biggest and hardest part of the whole procedure and experience for me.” The actress recalls asking herself, What did I do wrong? and Why can’t I heal myself?, but that didn’t serve her throughout the process.
So, when she received another abnormal pap, which indicated pre-cancerous cells on her cervix, she underwent a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). A LEEP procedure is a process that cauterizes the cancerous cells to get rid of them. Reiner was awake during the procedure, having received local anesthetic, which she says was “one of the most painful injections of my entire life.” But at the end of the day, she’s glad to have received proper care and uses her experience to raise awareness for screenings and prevention. She recently spoke on a panel about cervical cancer and prevention hosted by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), alongside Karen Tang, MD.
In the below video, Reiner shares that while we may all be fearful of finding out something we didn’t want to know during a screening, it’s better to address it head-on so it can get taken care of and you can live to see another day. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through,” she says. “As the mother of a daughter, it’s important we talk about prevention. There’s a really easy way to prevent this and the [HPV vaccine] statistics are incredibly positive regarding outcomes.”