Each year, approximately 12,000 women in the United States get Cervical Cancer and all women are at risk.
Elizabeth Tiller states, “I've been the person that has never been sick besides the normal cold or flu or sinuses typically.” She was shocked when she heard the news that she has Cervical Cancer.
According to Dr. Steven Stokes, a Radiation Oncologist at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, “in Alabama, Southwest Georgia and the panhandle of Florida we still see advanced disease for women that have not had their Pap Smears and that's a real tragedy.”
Many doctors believe the Human Papillomavirus may be responsible for Cervical Cancer and they stress the importance of getting yearly pap smears, HPV tests. Tiller says “now sitting here thinking a year ago, if I would have just made that one simple phone call.”
There are usually no significant symptoms in early stages of Cervical Cancer, however as the cancer develops, symptoms may occur. Stokes says “the things you are looking for is abnormal discharge, bleeding, pain with sexual intercourse.”
For many who can not afford a screening, there is a program offered by the state of Alabama that can help. According to Stokes, “the state of Alabama has a program called the Breast and Cervical Program where women that meet certain income levels, meaning they don't have adequate income, can get a mammogram or a pap smear through this program that the state of Alabama has for women ages 40 through 64.”
When detected early, Cervical Cancer is the easiest female cancer to cure. Elizabeth Tiller continues to fight her battle and reminds us to put our health first. She says to “stop and take a little time for yourself. Just go and get that check up.”