WHITE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – January is cervical cancer awareness month. According to doctors, cervical cancer was at one time the most common cause of cancer death for American women.
In the past few decades, experts said the death rate from cervical cancer has decreased significantly because of better screening.
News 18’s Krista Henery sat down with a White County woman who suffers from cervical cancer and now hopes to bring awareness to other women.
“It started when I went to go see the doctor about a bladder problem,” White County resident Suzie Ford said.
However, Ford’s visit to the doctor for a bladder problem turned out to be much worse.
“He wanted me to go see an OB/GYN so I went and that’s when she found cervical cancer,” Ford said.
Before her doctor’s visit for a bladder problem in August, Ford said she had no symptoms or signs that something else was wrong.
“I had nothing,” Ford explained. “I had no pain, absolutely nothing.”
Dr. Bamidele Adesunloye who’s an oncologist at IU Health Arnett said that’s often the case. He said women won’t have any symptoms. However, as the cancer grows, he said there are several signs to look out for.
“Symptoms can range from bleeding in between periods, bleeding after sex, or bleeding after menopause,” Dr. Adesunloye said.
Dr. Adensunloye said in 2013, 12,000 American women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. He said about a third of those women will die.
Luckily for Ford, doctors caught the cancer before it was too late.
“It makes you stop and think about things twice,” Ford explained. “It makes you think about how much you love everybody that you see, and how you want to make sure you tell everybody to take care of themselves.”
Dr. Adensunloye said to avoid finding yourself in a situation like Ford did, it’s as simple as getting screened and screening often.
“A woman must have a pap smear test every two to three years,” Dr. Adensunloye said. “That way you can actually get the pre-cancerous cells before they turn to full blown cancer.”
“Be aware of what is going on with you,” Ford said. “Go to the doctor and just don’t be afraid.”
Ford is currently in remission. However, she will have to have regular checkups and screenings for the next five years.