I was diagnosed with cervical cancer today. It’s adenocarcinoma, & I’ll need a cone biopsy before we know stages or how invasive it is, but it’s definitely not great. I’m a little nervous, because my last Pap was normal (my ob-gyn did a colposcopy because I was positive for a high-risk form of HPV, & she saw some troubling patches on the colposcopy so she did a biopsy, which turned up the cancer deep inside the cervix). The cancer is so hidden away, I’m nervous about how long it’s been lurking in there. The standard long-term treatment is hysterectomy, so I guess conversations about why Ramona is an only child are about to get a lot more awkward. I’ll have to travel to Kansas City for treatment, because there’s no cervical oncology center in Lawrence.
All I can say is, if you have a cervix, don’t skip your Paps. & don’t let your doctor do a Pap without testing for HPV & especially confirming which strain you may be positive for. HPV is very common, but there are only a few that are linked to cancer. My doctor wouldn’t have found this cancer if she hadn’t typed my HPV & decided to err on the side of caution by ordering a colposcopy.
& if you have a child (of any gender), seriously consider the HPV vaccine. It’s a VACCINE against CANCER. I mean, come on! Even though cervical cancer is quite treatable when it’s caught early (& I really hope mine was), the treatment is pretty radical. I wasn’t planning to have another kid anytime soon, but it still sucks to have the option snatched away, & it still remains to be seen exactly what my treatment will entail or what the long-term consequences will be. If you can spare your children any of this, do it.