January Is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month—Ladies, time to take a look “under the hood”!

The symbol designated to cervical cancer is the teal ribbon but I'm just not a "bow" type of girl. So here's my artsy fartsy take on paying homage to the month & movement.

That’s right, January not only marks the beginning of the new year but National Cervical Cancer/Health Awareness Month too! Ladies, it’s a good reminder to get your “stuff” checked (and make sure your mother, sister, daughters and besties do too)! I know it’s not fun, but it’s necessary. Having a Pap Smear is still the “gold standard” in early detection and well worth the look “under the hood” every year. I don’t care if the recommendations say you can go longer—go anyway.  We make time to get our hair and nails done on a regular basis and those can’t save our live, this can.

Also, PLEASE HEAR ME ON THIS. If you have any abnormal symptoms “down there”, a feeling that something just isn’t “right”—GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR. Do not press Go, do not collect two hundred dollars…GO and get checked. If I hadn’t done that, trusted my gut and acted fast there is no doubt that I would not be here today. And even though the type I was diagnosed with was super rare (large cell cervical neuroendocrine & a new stat says less than 65 cases ever documented worldwide…crazy), the point is I NEVER could have imagined it would be anything other than a routine (although annoying) bacterial infection. Instead, I was in Stage IVB of a rare, non-HPV cervical cancer with multiple metastases in my liver at my first symptom and the primary cervical tumor quadrupled in size in six days.  But I didn’t know any of this when I first picked up the phone to call my Gyn saying “something isn’t right”. Acting fast saved my life and it can save others too. You never think it’s going to be you. I know I didn’t. And it probably won’t—I pray that it’s not—but if it is (or someone you love), time is your most precious asset and you can’t get it back once it’s gone. Get checked. Please.

Also, consider looking into the HPV vaccine for yourself and/or your daughters if it’s appropriate. Do what feels right, but you owe it to yourself to at least “kick the tires” & educate yourself.

With love (and hoping I didn’t scare you too much other than to get your derriere in to see your doc…),

Alyssa

Here are the top symptoms of cervical cancer according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods or after menopause
  • Watery or bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor
  • Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse

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