When I was in my twenties, I was young and excited about my future. I never thought I'd be that girl--the one with cervical cancer. Like many young women, cervical cancer wasn't on my radar, and I had no idea that I was even at risk! But it happened to me, and my 10 year battle with the disease has led me to share my story with other young women, to encourage them to join the fight against this preventable disease.
Cervical cancer is actually the second leading cause of cancer death for young women in their 20s and 30s in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 11,000 women were expected to be diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. This means that one woman in the United States is diagnosed with cervical cancer every 47 minutes!
As part of my work with GSK, I'm proud to announce that I recently came together with 46 other women to appear on CBS's The Early Show to build awareness and illustrate the serious reality of another woman being diagnosed in the U.S. every 47 minutes.
When I was diagnosed, my doctor advised that I get a radical hysterectomy and I initially refused when I learned that it would leave me unable to bear children. It was very tough for me to learn and accept the fact that cervical cancer treatments could jeopardize my ability to successfully bear a child. I ended up undergoing a radical hysterectomy and additional treatments to rid my body of the cancer. Luckily, my story has a happy ending, as I am cancer-free today and I have a beautiful daughter who was born last year via a surrogate mother.
Young women today need to know that cervical cancer is preventable, which is why I am sharing my story and teaming up with GSK to raise awareness for the disease. I hope that my personal experience will empower young women to not only learn more about cervical cancer, but also to speak with their doctor about how they can protect themselves against this very serious, yet preventable, disease.
For more information about cervical cancer, please visit www.HelpPreventCervicalCancer.com and speak with your healthcare provider about what you can do--vaccination, pap tests, and lifestyle changes--to help prevent cervical cancer. Another woman should not have to suffer the consequences of cervical cancer.
Our guest blogger, Michelle Whitlock, is a cervical cancer survivor who is working with GSK to raise awareness for cervical cancer among young women. Michelle is being compensated for her work on behalf of GSK's cervical cancer awareness campaign.