Lauren was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018 after experiencing irregular bleeding. In this story from Macmillan Cancer Support (UK) she discusses her experience of diagnosis and treatment as well as the importance of cervical screening (“pap smear”).
The nurse who does the smear will have performed the same procedure over and over again, so while the exam itself may feel strange, you’ll know that you’re in good and experienced hands. I would say to anyone who is on the fence or putting it off: don’t delay, get it booked, get it done. The test is designed to pick up pre-cancerous growths that don’t tend to produce any symptoms at all. The only reason I had visible symptoms by the time of my second smear was because I had already developed cervical cancer. When you’re young, you feel like you’re invincible and can’t believe that anything like that could happen to you. Yes, it’s rare for younger people to have cancer but you’re never too young for it to be impossible.
Lauren’s fiancee Claire was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma a few years later and Lauren describes the decisions the couple have to make about fertility and childbearing:
I’m three years clear this year and am getting on with my life. We’ve just bought a house and before we even think about planning a wedding, we want to have a child. All being well, I can still carry a child, but Claire lost that chance when she had a hysterectomy and her ovaries and womb were removed.
Find Lauren’s story here.
Find more about cervical screening here.