Melissa H’s Story

I had just turned 30, was blessed with two kids, had split from my children’s Dad, working hard and had just came home from a relaxing holiday. I went to the doctor for a health check and was asked if I wanted to have a swab done. I have had no abnormal paps before, no symptoms.

I got a call back thinking that I had caught something from my ex but what I was told I wasn’t ready to hear. See, I’m now the fourth generation in my family to have had cervical cancer. The doctor at the hospital easily dismissed this when I mentioned it weeks later, saying it’s not a genetic cancer. I was under the impression that because I had the HPV needle I would be safe from cancer; I was wrong.

I was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma and a small amount of HPV. I had 3 operations in total and the final result was a radical hysterectomy.  I worry that with screening now every 5 years that a lot of woman will be undetected for too long and one of those will be my daughter. The ignorance behind cervical cancer and it’s huge potential to affect our lives is underestimated. The dismissal I’ve experienced is disgraceful, even following up with screenings has been a hassle with doctors brushing me off!

My concern is my Mum’s cancer came back several times after her hysterectomy at age 23 and here I am over 20 years later, still finding it just as hard to follow up my health. We shouldn’t be so nonchalant when it comes to health, every moment matters.

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

Please make sure you take the time to get a Cervical Screening Test. It takes only one moment, one day where things can change. Time is crucial and you need to keep that in mind.