Stephanie Zvan who blogs at Almost Diamonds has cervical cancer. A recent Pap smear came back with abnormal results and follow-up work found the cancer. Stephanie has talked about her experience and given follow-up information about her prognosis. Pieces responding to Stephanie's situation are at ERV and PalMD that are both worth reading.
I'm going to use this as an opportunity to go over some very basic issues:
First, for many cancers, getting them caught early matters. This is the case for many cancers. If you are a woman make sure you get regular Pap smears. If you are a man make sure to get regular prostate exams. No matter who you are, if you are older, make sure to get a regular colonoscopy. Etc. Etc. These exams save lives. When cancer is found doesn't just impact what treatment options there are but can be the difference between life and death.
Second, get the HPV vaccine. Unfortunately, this vaccine is not yet available for men but is available for women. HPV is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer. HPV is also associated with penile cancer in males. Once one has a given strain of HPV, getting a vaccine later isn't going to help matters. Moreover, HPV transmission is not prevented by condom use. HPV is a nasty little bugger and is much more easily transmitted than most STDs.
Stephanie grew up before there was a vaccine. However, in another respect, she is lucky. Stephanie and her husband don't intend to have children. However, for others they aren't so lucky. If you are a woman, get vaccinated. Men, when the vaccine is finally approved for males, please get vaccinated. Not only will this protect you, it will prevent you from getting a nasty disease which could then be given to those you love.
Stay informed. Stay protected. Stay safe.
Edit: Apparently the vaccine has now been approved for males. Good timing.
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