Cervical cancer symptoms: Finance manager says doctors dismissed four signs

A finance manager who lost her mother to uterine cancer in her mid-20s and was later diagnosed with cervical cancer has said she knew she had to be “strong for the family” because she feared her children were “too young not to be”. Mother”.

Crystal Manuel, who lives in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, lost her mother Dolores to uterine cancer at age 26 and was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 37 after experiencing unusual vaginal bleeding for nearly a year.

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A mother of two, now 39, explained that she was experiencing heavier and more painful periods, lower back pain, “shooting pains in (her) legs” and bleeding after sex, but despite several visits to the GP, “they chose Didn’t take it. Do whatever” and her symptoms continued.

After pushing for a diagnosis, nearly a year later Crystal was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the cervix, which she said was “pretty scary” — especially since her mother had died three months after being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Now, as a cancer survivor herself, Crystal wants to stress the importance of “(listening) to your body” and checking to see if “something (is) right”.

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“(My mom) was 49 years old and she was experiencing bleeding and the doctors thought she had fibroids, so she went in for a hysterectomy and when she went for her assessment before the surgery, they found out that wasn’t the case. Just a fibroid – it was cancer.

“Unfortunately, it was too late; She was diagnosed in November and passed away in February of the following year, so three months later.

“It’s too late.”

She added: “It was so scary (when I was diagnosed) because, with her, it was only three months and she was gone, and she always said to us, ‘If you’re feeling any aches and pains’ – Because she might as well. Ignored it for a long time – ‘go check it out’.

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Cervical cancer is a cancer found anywhere in the cervix – the opening between the vagina and uterus – and, according to charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, it currently kills two women every day in the UK.

Symptoms include unusual vaginal bleeding, changes in vaginal discharge, pain during sex, or pain in your lower back.

(PA Real Life)

A cervical check, known as a smear test, checks the health of the cervix and is a test that can help prevent cancer – although Crystal’s results came back negative, the bleeding continued and she knew “something wasn’t right”.

Crystal said it was extremely difficult to book a GP appointment due to the coronavirus pandemic, but after pushing to see, she made an appointment and was referred to Southampton General Hospital, where she underwent a cervical biopsy.

A few weeks later, she received the devastating news that she had cervical cancer, after which she underwent an MRI and CT scan.

As Crystal’s mother died three months after her diagnosis, Crystal said it was “really scary”.

“I was so scared… I lost my mom to uterine cancer, so that made it even scarier,” she said.

“You care more as a mother. You’re worried and (you’re) stressed because you don’t know how bad it is and you expect the worst.”

(PA Real Life)

However, despite Crystal’s fears, she knew her husband Clive, 39, a regional manager at British Gas, and her two children, Cameron, 15, and Chaya, 12, had to be strong for her. (her) family”.

She added: “I have two children and a husband, so it’s very scary, but obviously, you have to be strong for the family.

“Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, but when you have kids, you think, ‘They’re too young to not have a mother.'”

Crystal explained that while she feared the worst at times, her diagnosis was “not a death sentence” and she was “trying to carry on as normal”.

She feels her positive mindset was instrumental in getting her through her treatment, which included a radical hysterectomy — five rounds of chemotherapy, five weeks of daily radiation, followed by two weeks of brachytherapy.

Crystal said she recovered well after the hysterectomy and lost her hair from the chemotherapy she underwent, but experienced some “terrible” side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, bone pain and loss of appetite. , and going through menopause.

While she tried her best to stay positive during treatment, Crystal explained that she “felt down some days.”

(PA Real Life)

She even remembers crying in front of one of the nurses saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”

However, Crystal knew she had to “get through it” and was only now beginning to process the impact of her diagnosis and treatment.

“When I look back now, I really feel sorry for myself. I think, oh my goodness, I’ve really been through a lot,” she said.

“But at that point, I think, because you’ve got to go through it, it’s like you’re in survival mode.

“You’re in pain and there’s a lot going on – my blood pressure dropped and I fainted, I was sick – but when I look back it’s like it never happened.

“At that point, you know you have to put up with it, you have no choice.”

Three months after Crystal’s treatment ended, she received the “all clear” and now gets checked every few months.

(PA Real Life)

Although she feels “relieved” and happy to be in remission, her physical health has improved, which Crystal explained has been difficult to process over the past two years.

“You’re happy (to be cancer-free), obviously, but you don’t feel that happy because I think you’re still processing it mentally — everything you’ve been through.”

Crystal explained that her diagnosis and treatment “taught (her) a lot about life and what’s important in life.” I live life (to the fullest).

Now Krystal wants to encourage other women to get their smears tested and push for a diagnosis if they feel “something (is) off”.

“Listen to your body, because, luckily for me, that’s how I recognized it,” she said.

“I knew something wasn’t right… (but) I had to push to see.

“Stand up for yourself, (and) if you have any symptoms, or whatever you feel is right, go and get tested with whatever is in your body.

“(My mom’s cancer) was too late. She said, ‘Any aches or pains, go get checked,’ and I agreed.”

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is launching its biggest ever campaign: #WeCanEnd Cervical Cancer, to work towards a day when cervical cancer is a thing of the past. You can find out more by visiting www.jostrust.org.uk/ccpw


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