GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)- This month’s 9Health topic is one we have to remember all year long. It’s Cervical Cancer Awareness month.
This is the story of a young woman who knows the importance of cervical cancer awareness better than anyone, she’s a survivor.
It was a diagnosis she never expected to hear. After a routine pap smear, my young, beautiful and smart sister in-law was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 24.
“It saved my life. If I hadn't been diagnosed when I was, my cancer could have progressed into a dangerous zone really quickly,” says Miranda Ashman.
Together, she and my brother found a way to fight back, researching options for treatment that didn’t utterly end their chance to have kids.
“We took a very aggressive stance with this. We said we're not gonna let this get us down, we're not gonna let this ruin the rest of our lives,” says Pete Ashman.
It could have been a very different story had she skipped the test. Or even put it off. “It's a very important test. I know it's unpleasant. And women hate it, and dread it and don't look forward to it. And it's once a year, so it's easy to misplace in your calendar, but it's monumentally important not to forget a single one and to do them on time,” she says.
Time was on their side, allowing this young couple to overcome a potentially deadly diagnosis.
Experts say early detection and time is your best chance for survival. “Never miss one. If you wait too long, and it progresses, your options are limited. And that's when it gets really scary,” Miranda says.
It was also scary to the men in her life, who she says have a responsibility to care for their loved ones. “The men in the relationship should be equally concerned with the health of their partner. It's nice for women to have that kind of support in relationship with the men in their life. It means a lot coming from them, so be an active partner,” she advises.
Pete agrees. “Traditional marriage vows say in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part. If you really mean that, when you stood at the alter and said that and you really meant it, it's part of your job as the man in the relationship to make sure that that happens,” he says.
Experts tell women to get the test, and the voice of experience says even if you hear the worst, it can be overcome, and even put your other problems in perspective. “I realized very early on that if we could get thru this monumental thing. This really devastating news and difficult recovery, the other challenges that we might face weren't gonna be that bad,” Pete says. To which Miranda says, “No, nothing compared to that.”
You can find more information about cervical cancer awareness by clicking on the link below under Related Links. 11 News is a proud exclusive partner of 9Health.