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Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any? Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

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  #1  
Unread 06-08-2004, 05:25 PM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December. My only symptom was irregular bleeding, and my annual pap (performed a couple months early) did not catch it. I've found during my visits here that most cervical cancer patients were not diagnosed as a result of their paps, so I'm wondering, how were you diagnosed? In my case an in-office biopsy showed irregularities, so I was scheduled for a cone biopsy. As soon as my gyn had stopped the bleeding and attempted to start the procedure, she could see it was cancer.

What about the rest of you? What were your symptoms, and what was the procedure that finally resulted in a diagnosis?
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  #2  
Unread 06-08-2004, 07:12 PM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

Hi Jules,

My symptoms were irregular bleeding, heavy heavy cycles, pap was clear, but a D&C and internal sonogram showed large fibroids and because of the heavy cycles it was decided that a hysterectomy would be the next stop. I tried to avoid it and looked for alternatives but was told after the D&C that I had some thickening and changes that would be better served by a hysterectomy so off I went to the castle. Three weeks later I got the diagnosis that I had cervical cancer that they found after the surgery so they didn't know if there were any microscopic cells left behind so chemo/radiation protocol was begun in January. I just scheduled the 2nd followup ct with contrast later this month
  #3  
Unread 06-08-2004, 08:14 PM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

Hi Jules,

In late Nov 2002 I had a pap that came back abnormal. In December 2003 I had a colposcopy that showed dysplasia. On Jan 3 my doctor did a DNC and a cone biopsy believing that he could get all the dysplasia. During surgery they had pathology looking at the slides where there were some cancer cells that appeared on the last slide. Ten days later on January 13th I had a radical hysterectomy. When pathology looked at the slides, part of the vagina that they took they showed that there was also a second spot. So I ended up having 25 external and 1 2 day internal radiation treatments. ( They also found 12 large fibroids that they took out). They said it was the size of a 3 month pregnancy.

I was very lucky they found this because I had absouletly no symptons. If they had done just a regulary hysterectomy they would not have got the second spot.

Best of luck in your recovery.
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  #4  
Unread 06-08-2004, 11:43 PM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

I had a clear, watery, discharge that I noticed when I got up in the morning. No bleeding, just a clear discharge with no odor. Since I had 30 years of negative paps and a pap 5 months before, no one suspected cancer. My gyn could see something, and of course it bled when I was examed, but nothing showed up on the first sonogram and blood tests were fine. So I was treated for a bacterial infection. When the discharge came back in another month or so my gyn sent me for more tests, sonograms, etc. All of the doctors could see it (a cervical cancer that is 1B2 is quite large and very visible) but the doppler blood flow was good and that, combined with the negative paps, made them think that I had a fibroid on my cervix. My gyn thought a hysterectomy was advisable but wanted me to see a gyn/onc 'just to be sure there is no chance of cancer'. The gyn/onc knew immediately that it was cervical cancer and I began treatment that same week. Because the cancer was so large, 5 to 6 cm, surgery was not possible so I had chemo and radiation.

My radiation oncologist said she is seeing more and more women like us, with years of negative pap smears but full blown cancer nonetheless.

Now I have zero faith in pap smears. I see the gyn/onc every 3 months and I trust what he says. He takes a pap smear each time but I don't even call for the results as the results mean nothing to me. As far as I am concerned, Pap smears are useless.

Janie
  #5  
Unread 06-09-2004, 05:13 AM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

Hi jules...my symptons were irregular and long periods...bleeding after sex and even bleeding after a BM if i was constipated. MY pap smear was actually due this year but id had these symptons 2yrs ago not the irregular periods but the bleeding after sex i had a colposcopy and it came back normal....no abnormal cells...my consultant at a guess has said that this developed within the last year....my thoughts now are....should pap smears be done more often? after ive had my surgery im going to do some research and try and start a campaign here in the UK to get the goverment to put extra funding in to allow the health service to invite women for pap smears atleast every 2 years. I firmly believe that pap smears are usefull and can and do save lives but are not done often enough.
  #6  
Unread 06-09-2004, 05:21 AM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

laughingangel....paps are generally done every year here, and they still don't seem to be catching many of our cancers. I'll obviously still have them, but I'll be more apprehensive when I'm released from my oncologist's care and go back to my gyn. for regular check-ups.
  #7  
Unread 06-09-2004, 05:56 AM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

I agree with the ladies....pap smears are good for detecting the outer cervical changes....however if there is cancer high up in the middle part of the cervix....a pap would not detect it until the cancer broke through to the outer cervix.

I had abnormal bleeding between periods, my pap was negative. In fact when I first saw my gyn/onc he said my outer cervix was normal. Go figure.......
  #8  
Unread 06-09-2004, 11:53 AM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

My radiation oncologist said that she had seen a sharp rise in the number of women with negative pap smears but with cervical cancer. In the past she said she'd get one or two such cases every couple of years. In the last two years she's had 3 to 5 cases per year. She was concerned enough to call her gynco and ask him if she should be having pap smears every 6 months rather than once per year. He told her that he didn't think it would be helpful.

Jules, I agree with you about returning to my regular gyn for check ups. I don't think that happens for 5 years, but right now I don't think I'll ever go back to my regular gyn. He's a great doctor who was fabulous at making sure that I got the right treatment. It was he who insisted that I see a gyn/onc. BUT he doesn't have experience in seeing cancer. I want to continue seeing the gyn/onc forever! I want to see him at least every 6 months for the rest of my life. I'll pay out of pocket, if necessary, although I doubt I would have to. If I have future gynocological problems they are likely to be cancer related, or cancer treatment related, so I want to continue to see the gyn/onc for the rest of my life.

I remember when the US gov't said that it was ok to go from annual paps to paps every two or three years, following 3 years of negative paps. However, no doctors ever recommended that to their patients. Gyns continued to give their patients paps every year. There are some advantages to having doctors run their own businesses! They may have made more money but requiring annual visits, but they probably saved some lives too! I'd be happy to get pap smears every 6 months for life if it meant they would check it early enough to avoid surgery, chemo and/or radiation. I just wish that pap smears worked a little better. My cancer set right on my cervix, was not far up the canal, or in any unusual place, and the pap smears never picked it up, not even the 3 thin prep tests I had in the two years before diagnosis. Go figure. BUT Pap smears do work for most women, in most cases, and they do save lives.

My aunt was 90 when she discovered a recurrence of cervical cancer in her vagina. She had a hysterectomy 40 years earlier!! Yes, 40. In 1963 she had a radical hysterectomy and was fine until 2003. She knew something was wrong but her doctor wasn't doing internal exams or pap smears because of her age and because she hadn't been sexually actice in years. In 2003 she insisted that he do an exam and he found the tumor on her vagina. She had radiation and is doing well. Even at 90 years old we have to be our own advocates!

Best,
Janie
  #9  
Unread 06-09-2004, 01:17 PM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

Hi - I did not have any symptoms at all. I went in for my annual pap and it came back abnormal, after having a biopsy they found that it was cancer. I was immediately sent to the oncologist and scheduled for a radical hysterectomy two weeks later. Good luck.
  #10  
Unread 06-09-2004, 01:38 PM
Cervical cancer -- what were your symptoms, if any?

I always had regular paps. My second to last one was Oct 2002. Soon after, I had bleeding after intercourse(pool of red red blood) a couple of times. I went back to my dr. March 2003 and he said that I had a "friable" cervix. Anyone every had their cervix called "friable"? He said that it was very red and swollen. So instead of doing a biopsy he cauterized my cervix with silver nitrate. Well, I was scared to have sex so we did not have much. The last time was the most painful exerience I had ever had(I cried it hurt so much). Of course I didn't call the dr. I waited until my pap January 31 to tell him what was going on.

As soon as he started the pap, he said there is your "friable" cervix again. I started bleeding with the pap. This time he did a biopsy. I honestly didn't put 2 and 2 together that you do a biopsy to check for cancer. About 5 days after he did the biopsy, I thought to myself "I have cancer". Sure enough I got the call the next day that he wanted to see me in his office the next morning(Saturday).

I went to see 2 gyn/onc the next week and had the cone done 13 days after diagnosis and a radical hysterectomy 2 days after the cone. I just wonder that if he had done a biopsy the first time he called my cervix "friable" would he have found the cancer. My gyn/onc and I are very mad that he didn't do a biopsy then.

My gyn/onc said that she will be my dr now. I didn't ask if that is only for the next 5 years or forever. Good luck to all of you in your recovery and with your paps.

________________
Noelle
Radical Hysterectomy 2/23/04 Stage 1B Cervical Cancer
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