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Cervical Cancer Symptoms

Meet Cammie

Cervical Cancer Survivor

"I couldn't understand why it happened to me."

Getting cancer was the furthest thing from Cammie’s mind.

She was only 28, in good health, happily married and working for a great company.

So when a routine pap test indicated an abnormality, she was shocked when the results indicated she had stage 2 cervical cancer.

“I couldn’t understand why it happened to me,” says Cammie. “I was angry with myself, like what did I do that I didn’t take care of myself.”

Her mom traveled from China as soon as she heard the news. She assured her daughter they would visit as many hospitals as it took until they found the right one.

It turned out they wouldn’t have to travel far. After meeting with Dr. Robert Wenham at Moffitt Cancer Center, Cammie knew the decision was clear.

“During my first appointment he spent close to two hours explaining everything and got to know me personally,” says Cammie. “It really helped me calm down and plan out my treatment.”

She credits Dr. Wenham with developing a plan that focused on her quality of life since she was so young.

Her treatment entailed an ovarian transposition, a surgery that moves the ovaries out of the field of radiation. Because the amount of radiation to the ovaries is lowered, it can help to preserve their function in the future.

“It’s important to think about cancer, not as cancer treatment but as patient treatment,” explains Dr. Wenham. “Patients have desires. Patients have hope. Patients have dreams. A lot of those will change because of the cancer they have, so to call it cancer treatment is somewhat of a misnomer. We really have to think about it as treating the whole patient. “

Knowing that regular pap tests are not part of the standard health care for women in her home country of China, Cammie is now an advocate on the importance of cervical cancer prevention.

“Cervical cancer is fully preventable, “ says Cammie. “It would not be as common for young women if they got an exam every year and got the HPV vaccine.”

A year after her initial diagnosis, Cammie takes nothing in life for granted.

“I'm so lucky that I can still live in this world,” she says. “I can eat delicious food. I can explore the world. I can do my hobbies. I can go to different places. I feel appreciative all the time.”