Cervical Cancer

Messages to others about cervical cancer

Many women we interviewed used their own experience to encourage others who were facing cervical cancer to think positively and not to give up hope.

Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

The advice was not to be brave all the time and to accept support from others. One woman advised others to ask their GP for anti-depressants if they found they were not coping. Another stressed the importance of believing the information that doctors gave, not assuming things are worse than they actually are and recognising that people do survive cancer.

A couple of older woman viewed their cancer as an episode in their life which is now over. Others, who had cervical cancer several years ago, described how things had improved over time. One woman recommended getting personal effects in order to reduce any additional worries.

Many said that there had been positive aspects to having cancer (see 'Living with cervical cancer').

Information

Many women encouraged others not be afraid or embarrassed to ask their doctors questions and to get as much information about their illness and treatment as they felt comfortable with. Several said they had found it helpful to take a friend or relative with them to their appointments. Others recommended talking to other patients which many had found supportive.

Treatment

A few encouraged others to find out all the available treatment options if they felt what they were being offered wasn't right for them. Some women recommended getting a second opinion if they felt unhappy with the treatment choices.

Another stressed that treatment plans are designed for individual patients and women should not feel they were being given a lesser treatment if it was different to others.

A few who had used complementary approaches recommended it to others, in conjunction with their medical treatment and after discussing it with their doctor. One woman who had radio-chemotherapy encouraged others to try to eat well during their treatment because she had found this had kept her strong and aided her recovery.

Some women who had had surgery encouraged others to take time to recover from their hysterectomy or trachelectomy and not to push themselves too much. One young woman gives words of encouragement to others who need to have a pelvic exenteration.

Symptoms and Cervical Screening Tests

Women who discovered their illness by having bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse encouraged others to seek medical advice quickly if they experienced any irregular bleeding. Irregular bleeding can also be a symptom of many other things such as fibroids, but it is important to get any changes checked by a doctor.

Several women encouraged others to know their own body, to trust themselves if they felt something was wrong, to question their doctor and ask to be seen by a specialist if they felt their concerns were not being dealt with.

Women who discovered they had cancer after having an abnormal cervical screening test result stressed the importance of having regular cervical screening tests because it had saved their lives.

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Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated July 2017.

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