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I was diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 1a1 two weeks after my 25th birthday in 2011.
I received my cervical screening invitation a couple of weeks before my birthday and immediately rang my doctor to arrange an appointment. I thought it would be absolutely fine as I'd had no symptoms and was only young anyway so everything would be ok! A week later and I received the news that I had severe dyskariosis and so an appointment had been made for me at my local colposcopy clinic.
During this appointment I had LLETZ treatment which removed a large part of my cervix. The colposcopist and nurse were both amazing and really helped me get through it. Exactly one week later the colposcopist rang to let me know the results. They had found extensive CIN3 and within that, two areas both under 1mm had unfortunately progressed into cancerous cells.
After that I couldn't really take in what she said. I remember her saying that I would have to go back in around six weeks to have more LLETZ treatment to make sure the margins were clear. I was extremely lucky that both the CIN3 and the cancerous cells hadn't spread and that the coloposcopist and consultant had managed to remove it all. This meant no further treatment was needed and I could then have six monthly check ups.
Two years after I was diagnosed, I was very lucky to have had clear scans and was able to progress to yearly check ups.
Receiving a diagnosis has had a massive impact on my life both positive and negative. Firstly the shock, the unknown and the uncertainty are the worst parts. Not being able to concentrate on anything other than what lies ahead, whether that be hospital appointments or waiting for results - that's all you can think about. I also worried about the effect it had upon my loved ones. I didn't want my friends and family to be upset as that really upset me.
Believe it or not there are positives! I feel extremely lucky and grateful that it was caught early enough to be able to treat it surgically and with my fertility kept intact. It wasn't a pleasant experience but I know that if I hadn't have gone for my cervical screening test when I did, I may not be here today. I now know that I am strong enough to get through anything! I can put things into perspective a lot easier than before, as I now know what a real problem actually is! I try not to sweat the small stuff and I can step back and look at the bigger picture. I lead a much healthier and active lifestyle.
Another postive is the fact that my friends and family do not and would not ignore their cervical screening letter and they make that appointment straight away, otherwise they'd have me to deal with! I am very proud that I can give advice and support about cervical cancer and abnormalities. And of course, cervical screening, because I know without a doubt that mine saved my life.