Cervical Cancer

Living with cervical cancer

Being diagnosed with cervical cancer can be a life-changing experience. Attitudes change, priorities change. Some young women can no longer have children and have to find ways to cope with a different future to the one they had hoped for (see 'Fertility'). Many find themselves looking at life through a whole new perspective. Those who are still grappling with their illness may find it hard to feel confident about the future. Those whose illness is behind them often describe the positive influence it had on their lives. None of the women interviewed were terminally ill and needed palliative care.

Many said that positive things had come from having cancer. Some had reassessed their priorities. Several said it had made them appreciate and enjoy life more. Others said that they no longer postponed things and made sure they enjoyed things more in the present rather than saving for the future. A few said that although some things had changed after their illness, they didn't feel that their life had changed dramatically.

Some women said they had become more assertive, compassionate or tolerant towards others, less worried about bills and day to day things or more willing to put themselves first. One explains how her attitude to life has changed.

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Many women recalled being extremely worried about any symptoms they had after treatment which they feared might be a recurrence. Some said this worry had lessened over time. One young woman explains how she feels about the future one year after her treatment.

Some said that they had felt very anxious before and during their check-up appointments but several had found these appointments had got easier over time. One woman always planned a treat immediately after her appointments which she said made them easier to deal with. In contrast, a few said they had not been worried before check-ups because they felt very well, had no symptoms and were taking part in all their activities again.

Last reviewed July 2017.

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