“Cancel your Christmas plans – you’re not going anywhere but the hospital. You have cervical cancer.”
By E.M. Fredric
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/03/2018 –Cancer entered my life years ago – at age 29, my OB-GYN bluntly told me, “Cancel your Christmas plans – you’re not going anywhere but the hospital. You have cervical cancer.” I entered a surreal world that had a flood of questions flash through my mind. How could I have this? Am I going to die? Why is this happening to me? I asked him what my prognosis was and he responded, “I wouldn’t go lighting any candles if I were you but you need to have surgery right away.” More salt poured into my physical and mental wound – as he went on to say, “And since you don’t have insurance, I need $1,500 down this week or go to County Hospital.”
Some physicians lack bedside manners and I’ve found unless you’re dealing with a Family doctor – many just are so busy that they just read off facts not taking into account the emotionality of the patient.
This wealthy Beverly Hills doctor also informed me that I could’ve caught this much earlier but my yearly pap had been misread. I felt terrified, traumatized and demeaned – all at once – in a town where I knew few and had no family…yet.
“Cervical cancer as reported by United Nations through the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement that cervical cancer that attacks women is still ranked highly among the types of cancers that cause death of women in the world.”
My surgery was a success and not many years later – the doctors had insisted that I was a high risk for either a still born birth – a preemie or a miscarriage – my husband and I were gifted with a healthy baby boy in December of 1990. I am very grateful for that arrival.
It is said, “Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by infection with certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Following the American Cancer Society guidelines can help find cervical cancer early, and can also find pre-cancers, which can be treated to keep cervical cancer from forming. Which begs the question with an HPV vaccine available why are so many parents resistant to giving it to their daughters? The American Cancer Society recommends that the vaccine series be started at age 11 or 12, although it can be given to girls and women up to age 26. FEAR, cancer instills fear.
It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and there is not one person that I’ve met in life who hasn’t had or been affected by someone having had cancer. We’ve come a long way in many cancer procedures, research – but we’ve just begun.
We’ve also lost women of note at various ages to the disease. (See photos) Cancer will call your name – or someone that you know. I’ve lost four relatives to cancer and countless loved ones.
Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have both a Pap test and an HPV test every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it is also OK to have a Pap test alone every 3 years. There is no set rule – educate yourself. *Some of the new guidelines across the board are irresponsible.
The American Cancer Organization states on their website:
- Women over age 65 who have had regular screenings with normal results should not be screened for cervical cancer. Women who have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or pre-cancer should continue to be screened according to the recommendations of their doctor.
- Women who have had their uterus and cervix removed in a hysterectomy and have no history of cervical cancer or pre-cancer should not be screened.
- Women who have had the HPV vaccine should still follow the screening recommendations for their age group.
- Women who are at high risk for cervical cancer may need to be screened more often. Women at high risk might include those with HIV infection, organ transplant, or exposure to the drug DES. They should talk with their doctor or nurse.
With a history like mine? Fight to get a pap smear every year no matter what the AMA or any other cancer organization states. Know your body and be its most vital advocate and caretaker! It’s your life – don’t be intimidated. Knowledge truly is power. We are losing too many girls and women and it’s preventable.
My Christmas cards and bills will go out again with the fundraising Breast Cancer stamp. I know my money is being used effectively and it gives a constant visible reminder… that cancer can call any of our names at any time.
Jade Goody’s YouTube tribute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfY25L3keHM