My journey with cervical cancer began with an appointment to my primary physician, for unrelated concerns. My doctor recommended doing my routine Pap smear since I was already there, and I reluctantly agreed. Little did I know that this doctor’s suggestion would end up saving my life. After abnormal Pap results and a positive HPV test, I was referred for a colposcopy and later diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma of the cervix. The cancer was in a very early stage and we made the decision to proceed with a surgical treatment (cone biopsy and then hysterectomy).
After the diagnosis I, like many other chapter leaders, looked for some kind of support in my area. Several internet searches revealed that there were no local support groups or chapters of agencies like the NCCC in the Portland/Vancouver area. I felt that I had a duty to step up, reach out, and begin a new chapter for myself and others like me, with the hope of educating others and promoting early detection measures. I hope that the existence of this chapter will be the beacon of hope that I was looking for, for any person in our area struggling with and surviving an HPV or cervical cancer diagnosis.