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ONECancer survivors who have experienced severe vaginal bleedingwho felt like "someone just popped a balloon" before undergoing extensive treatment to remove a large vascular tumor on her cervix wants to spread the positive message to other womenthat a diagnosis of cervical cancer"It's not a death sentence."
Joanne Painter, who lives in Northampton, was diagnosed with stage two cervical cancer at the age of 38 after noticing an unusual vaginal dischargeshows abnormal and profuse bleedingseveral months.
The mother-of-two, founder and executive director of a natural green cemetery and humanist funeral service, said the bleeding was so profuse that at times it felt like "someone had just popped a balloon or flipped the touch."
The now 43-year-old says she was repeatedly told by doctors not to worry and was initially misdiagnosed with cervical ectropion - when cells from inside the cervical canal grow out of the cervix - but Joanne knew her symptoms should not be ignored.
After pushing for a diagnosis, Joanne was told in February 2018 she had cervical cancer and she was "confused" — but now, as a survivor looking back over the past five years, Joanne wants to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis . Recognition and “stay positive”.
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"You know your body better than anyone and if something is wrong, don't be fooled by a doctor or someone who says 'oh it's ok'... go ahead and get tested and vaccinated , if you can , and don't take no for an answer,' Joanne said.
"Of course, the earlier you get a diagnosis, the better the chances are."
Cervical cancer is cancer found anywhere in the cervix - the opening between the vagina and uterus - and it currently kills two women every day in the UK, according to the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.
A cervical screening, known as a swab test, checks the health of the cervix and is a test to help prevent cancer, but in Joanne's case, her previous swab test results before her diagnosis were negative.
After noticing an unusual discharge at age 38, which she described as "very watery," Joanne contacted her doctor to set up an appointment.
She said the doctor "wasn't overly concerned," but a few days later she started having vaginal bleeding that got progressively worse.
Joanne initially likened the bleeding to a "light period" and was initially diagnosed with cervical ectropion, but when she started bleeding through her pads and into her clothes, sometimes spending up to an hour in the bathroom, she knew, "This is it." not true".
It got so bad that during a visit to the theater with friends, she said she "felt this 'pop' and had blood pouring down [her] legs."
On another occasion, during a trip toAustraliaShe bled "almost the entire 24-hour flight" and "made it to the plane seat."
Joanne said: “The spotting turned into a very heavy bleeding; I could sit in the bathroom for 20 minutes at a time and it was like someone had burst a balloon or turned on the faucet and it was just drip, drip, drip.
"That's when I started to think, 'Oh, that doesn't feel right,' and by that point I was feeling really, really tired.
"I had a four-year-old and a seven-year-old son, and I worked full-time, so I put the fatigue down to that... (but) obviously I was losing a lot of blood, so that led to me going back to my doctor."
Joanne was referred to a genealogist at Northampton General Hospital but her husband Neil, 48, a construction worker, rushed her to hospital early as she was bleeding through her clothes again at dinner.
She said doctors initially dismissed her symptoms, but after spending the night trying to stop the bleeding, Joanne was told the next morning by a consulting gynecologist, "I'm sorry, this doesn't look good. "
She was told she had cervical cancer and after a biopsy was taken and she underwent several tests and oneMRTIt turned out she had a 6cm vascular tumor on her cervix that required treatment rather than surgery to remove it.
"To be honest, I was in complete disbelief ... I remember sitting there completely speechless," Joanne said.
"I wasn't particularly upset, I think it was like, is this really happening?
"Then, within half an hour, aMacmillanThe nurse appeared at the foot of my bed and introduced herself, and I think that's when it hit me - the reality of, oh my godDeus, I actually have a Macmillan nurse sitting at the foot of my bed, that's not good news.
Joanne explained that the news was even harder to hear since she had lost her father to cancer nine years earlier, but despite her fears, she knew she had to stay positive.
"I sat there thinking my dad died of cancer now they tell me I may have cancer and I have a four year old and a seven year old and I have to get over it because I can't help but for my kids being there,” Joanne explained.
"Very quickly, this overwhelming need to survive came over me."
Joanne believes her positivity helped her weather the treatment, which included six weeks of chemotherapy followed by three weeks of brachytherapy - a type of internal radiation therapy that Joanne said left her inside "black and charred."
The mother-of-two explained that she didn't lose her hair due to the type of chemotherapy she was undergoing, but felt "horrible" at times.
She said she suffered from severe exhaustion, chronic diarrhea and felt "a little bit hungover, like [she] had 20 shots of tequila," and while she was "scared" at times, she knew she had to overcome the challenges she faced she faced. faced, especially for their children.
"You can't dwell on it, you just have to keep going," Joanne said.
"You never want (your kids) to see you upset and you never want them to think you're that poor, so just complain...
“I never felt like I needed advice, I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me; I didn't want to be defined as "Jo who had cancer" so I thought just go ahead, get over it, it's not that bad.
Three months after the end of treatment, Joanne returned to the hospital for a check-up and received the "wonderful" news that the tumor had disappeared.
Although Joanne said it "took a long time to recover" and called the after-effects of her treatments, like going through menopause, a "train wreck," she stressed the importance of having a good support network to keep moving and "to be kind". to himself” during rehabilitation.
Joanne is also a "true believer in the Law of Attraction and releasing it into the universe," and she said writing affirmations has helped tremendously.
"These things take time, so people probably need to know that (they) won't recover and will feel absolutely 100% afterwards and life will go back to normal," she said.
“I think you have to adjust to life a bit and just accept the new you; this is 'the new me' now and I'm different than before, but that's not a bad thing, it's just a little bit different.
Joanne has regular checkups every few months, and while she's had "a few ups and downs" over the years, she wants to encourage other women who may have been diagnosed with cervical cancer to "try not to go in the tunnel out." Afraid of 'this is a death sentence,'" adding, "You have everything to live for."
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Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs January 23-29 and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is launching its biggest campaign ever: #WeCan End Cervical Cancer, to work towards a day when cervical cancer is a thing of the past. .
You can find out more by visitingthe website here.
Do symptoms come and go with cervical cancer? ›
Typically, symptoms don't become obvious until the cancer has grown into nearby tissue. Cervical cancer symptoms are not likely to come on suddenly, but usually persist once they do appear.What are the 2 important cervical cancer screenings? ›
The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause cell changes on the cervix. The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.How long does it take for symptoms of cervical cancer to show? ›
Cervical cancer develops very slowly. It can take years or even decades for the abnormal changes in the cervix to become invasive cancer cells. Cervical cancer might develop faster in people with weaker immune systems, but it will still likely take at least 5 years.What are the red flags for cervical cancer? ›
vaginal bleeding that's unusual for you – including bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after the menopause, or having heavier periods than usual. changes to your vaginal discharge. pain during sex. pain in your lower back, between your hip bones (pelvis), or in your lower tummy.What is the most significant symptom for cervical cancer should it occur? ›
If early cell changes develop into cervical cancer, the most common signs include: vaginal bleeding between periods. menstrual bleeding that is longer or heavier than usual. pain during intercourse.Where does cervical cancer usually recur? ›
For women who underwent curative-intent therapy for cervical cancer, the predominant site of disease recurrence is local (ie, at the vaginal apex) or regional (ie, pelvic sidewall). The risk of persistent or recurrent pelvic disease increases with more advanced initial disease stage (table 1).Can cervical cancer be cured completely? ›
Most early-stage cervical cancers are treated with a radical hysterectomy operation, which involves removing the cervix, uterus, part of the vagina and nearby lymph nodes. A hysterectomy can cure early-stage cervical cancer and prevent recurrence. But removing the uterus makes it impossible to become pregnant.Where does cervical cancer spread to next? ›
The most common places for cervical cancer to spread is to the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and bones.What are two important means of early cancer detection? ›
The 2 components of early detection of cancer are early diagnosis (or downstaging) and screening. Early diagnosis focuses on detecting symptomatic patients as early as possible, while screening consists of testing healthy individuals to identify those having cancers before any symptoms appear.What is the most reliable means of early detection of cervical cancer? ›
The best way to find cervical cancer early is to have regular screening tests. The tests for cervical cancer screening are the HPV test and the Pap test. These tests can be done alone or at the same time (called a co-test). Regular screening has been shown to prevent cervical cancers and save lives.
What is the gold standard for cervical cancer screening? ›
The Papanicolaou test/cytology, which remains the gold standard for cervical cancer prevention and early detection, requires extensive resources, including highly trained physicians and complex laboratory equipment.What is Stage 1 cervical cancer? ›
Stage 1 means that the cancer is only in the neck of the womb (cervix). The main treatment is surgery. You might also have combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy (chemoradiotherapy) if you have stage 1B cervical cancer.What happens to your body when you have cervical cancer? ›
Cervical cancer happens when cells change in women's cervix, which connects the uterus and vagina. This cancer can affect the deeper tissues of their cervix and may spread to other parts of their body (metastasize), often the lungs, liver, bladder, vagina, and rectum.Is cervical cancer curable if detected early? ›
Cervical cancer can be treated and cured, if detected in its early stages. If treatment is not provided, cervical cancer can be fatal.Does cervical cancer show up in routine blood work? ›
A full blood count test isn't enough to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer. However, it's an important test that will likely be part of any cervical cancer testing process. A full blood count shows the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your blood.What age does cervical cancer peak? ›
For cervical cancer, incidence increases rapidly from age 25 when routine screening starts, with a dip thereafter.When diagnosed in early stages the prognosis of patients with cervical cancer is? ›
When cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 92%. When cervical cancer is diagnosed after it has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 59%.What are the odds of cervical cancer returning? ›
Uterine cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of female cancer-related death among women worldwide (1). The recurrence rates of cervical cancer are 11% to 22% and 28% to 64% for those with Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage IB-IIA and IIB-IVA disease, respectively (2).Can you live a long life after cervical cancer? ›
Survival for all stages of cervical cancer
more than 60 out of every 100 (more than 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. more than 50 women out of every 100 (more than 50%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis.
Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. Fortunately, because of the Pap test, rates of cervical cancer have dropped dramatically. During a Pap test, your doctor collects cervical cells for microscopic examination to find precancerous or cancerous cells.
Will a hysterectomy cure cervical cancer? ›
Nearly half of cervical cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, meaning the tumors are small and have not spread beyond the cervix. Although there are other treatment options, radical hysterectomy is the most common treatment for early-stage disease, and cure rates for the disease are around 80%.What is the new treatment for cervical cancer? ›
In the fall of 2021, the FDA approved a more targeted treatment approach using a drug called tisotumab in adults with recurring or metastatic cervical cancer who are on, or completed, chemotherapy treatments. Since being approved by the FDA in September, two patients at Hollings have received treatment using tisotumab.What supplements for cervical cancer? ›
The intake of vitamins C and E may widely inhibit the process of cervical cancer development. Polyphenols are often used in cases of cervical cancer in combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy.Who gets cervical cancer the most? ›
Each year in the United States, about 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and about 4,000 women die of this cancer. Hispanic women have the highest rates of developing cervical cancer, and Black women have the highest rates of dying from cervical cancer.Where is leg pain in cervical cancer? ›
In its later stages, cervical cancer can spread to other areas of the body. If the tumor presses on nerves in the pelvic wall, leg pain is a likely result. You may also notice pain in your lower back and abdomen.
The most frequent site of metastasis is the spine, particularly the lumbar spine (48%), followed by the pelvic bones. The majority of metastatic bone lesions in cervical cancer seem to be of osteolytic nature.What is the best way to detect cancer early? ›
- Physical exam. Your doctor may feel areas of your body for lumps that may indicate cancer. ...
- Laboratory tests. Laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. ...
- Imaging tests. ...
Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can often be found early, when they are likely to be easier to treat.What happens if you detect cancer early? ›
Catching cancer early is the best way to initiate effective treatment. When cancer is caught in early stages, the cancer does not have time to grow and spread, and can be combated more easily. There are many types of tests that are performed with the intention of catching cancer early.Where does cervical cancer usually start? ›
Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix -- the lower part of the uterus (womb). The cervix connects the body of the uterus (the upper part where a fetus grows) to the vagina (birth canal). Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control.
What is the first stage of cervical cancer? ›
Stage I cervical cancer
Stage IA1 and IA2 cervical cancer. A very small amount of cancer that can only be seen under a microscope is found in the tissues of the cervix. In stage IA1, the cancer is not more than 3 millimeters deep. In stage IA2, the cancer is more than 3 but not more than 5 millimeters deep.
- Abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Bleeding after vaginal sex.
- Bleeding after menopause.
- Spotting between periods.
- Having heavier or longer periods.
- Unusual vaginal discharge.
- Bloody discharge.
- Pelvic pain.