Can you imagine getting the call from the doctor that the biopsy in fact concluded you have the big C? I didn’t. Especially at the age of 30. Before this, I always thought I had at least 7-10 years before I had to seriously worry about things going downhill. That was my ignorant perspective based off past performance, at least from my family health history. I will say, I’m very lucky to have a strong support system. And as loving and caring as my family is, that does not erase the reality that my short-lived financial stable life is in jeopardy. However, I stop and remind myself, “everything will be fine, it has to be.” See, most of my life I’ve been pretty healthy; an ear infection here and there, a weak immune system during the flu season- I mean that’s all. Pretty healthy, right? Then my insurance was getting cancelled and I figure I go get my physical done and that dreaded pap completed. A week later, I get a call that the cells are abnormal, I’m thinking, “great, now I have to go back and get a Colpo.” I was more annoyed than concerned. Got through the Colpo and I’ll admit, I started getting worried. Especially after the Doc mentioned the cells looked moderate-severely abnormal. I wouldn’t get the results from the biopsy for another week. As I mentally, physically and financially prepare for surgery, I think about the women are living like me right now. This blog is for them.
My thoughts are with those women who are alone, who found out too late or who don’t have the time to go get checked and are unknowingly living with something that is slowly defeating and killing their bodies.
Here are some key stats according to an informational post published by San Diego State University:
- In 2017, an estimated 12,820 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women.3
- In 2017, an estimated 4,210 U.S. women will die from cervical cancer.3
- Based on 2010-2012 data, an estimated 250,000 women in the U.S. are living with cervical cancer.4
- Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not been routinely screened.5
- In 2012, an estimated 11.4% of women in the United States had not been screened for cervical cancer in the past five years. This estimate is higher for women with no health insurance (23.1%) and for those without a regular health care provider (25.5%).6
- From 2006-2012, the median age of cervical cancer diagnosis was 49.4 However, older women remain at risk. More than 15% of new cases are diagnosed in women over 65. Cervical cancer in women younger than age 20 is rare.1
- In the U.S., Hispanic women have the highest rate of cervical cancer, followed by African- Americans, Caucasians, American Indian/Alaska Natives, and Asian American/Pacific Islanders. Mortality rates are highest for African American women.7
- When detected at its earliest stage, cervical cancer has a 5-year relative survival rate of approximately 92%. For regional disease, it is approximately 57%. If cancer has spread to distant organs, 5-year survival drops to approximately 17%.4