Tina’s Story

I was a normal 21 year old, living my best life. However, quite quickly after experiencing some unusual ‘symptoms’ I found myself facing a diagnosis of Advanced Stage III HPV proceeding to cervical cancer.

I was referred immediately to a gynaecological oncologist who did some further tests and recommended urgent surgery. I advised I wasn’t in a private health scheme and wanted to go into the public system. I was about to go overseas for a few months so my doctor insisted I choose the private option so I could be treated soon. Thank goodness I did.

On 22/12/09 I underwent surgery to remove the affected areas of my cervix. The surgery itself went well, with my doctor advising he took more of my cervix than he anticipated just to be safe and that they would be sending it off for further testing. Given this it would mean I’m at a high risk of miscarriage due to the scarring.

A few weeks later I was on my way to the airport when I received a call from my doctor advising the results had come back and if we didn’t operate when we did I would be returning to a chemotherapy treatment plan with maybe 12 months to live. Since then I have had one beautiful baby boy and an “all clear” for all the other HPV screening tests I have done.

I am so grateful to my doctor and his care team for looking after me. I encourage all women to ensure they’re getting regular tests. I had kept my testing up to date and the cells had still turned cancerous so quickly. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

Regular testing! You never know what situation you may find yourself in without it. Being given an outcome like “terminal” is devastating. Especially when this cancer can be prevented and treated if found early.