As we say goodbye to summer and welcome a new, chillier season into our lives, we recognize that it’s also a month devoted to a special category of diseases thousands of women will have to face in their lives. Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month includes all cancers of the female reproductive system including cancers of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vulva and vagina. Despite medical advances, it’s predicted that in the United States over 100,000 women will be diagnosed with gynecologic cancer in 2019 alone, and while many will overcome these diseases, sadly many will lose their battle.
As some of you read this, it’s likely you know someone who has experienced a fight with gynecological cancer, and we are no different. Someone very near and dear to us on the SweetSpot Labs team is fighting a battle of her own. As a woman led, women run company who over the years have watched each other’s successes, celebrations, marriages, and births of babies, we have also had to share in each other’s heartaches, losses, and personal battles.
One of our own, a fierce, fiery and sweet friend was diagnosed with cervical cancer in July of 2018 and since then has triumphantly fought to remain positive and upbeat. In October of 2018 she successfully completed 5 rounds of chemotherapy, 25 rounds of external radiation and 4 rounds of brachytherapy all within a grueling 55 days. Her treatment was over and as she waited to hear from her doctors that the cancer was finally gone - she was determined to get back to living her normal life. Her family flew to Cuba to celebrate –they rode horses, soaked up the sun and our dear friend was finally able to relax. The ladies at SweetSpot were overjoyed. Cancer isn’t supposed to affect a 27-year-old we thought. She’s young, of course she beat it, she’s a fighter!
The reality is that cancer doesn’t care how old you are, how determined you are or how great of a person you are. Today she continues to fight the good fight, and we stand beside her cheering her on. Women are fighters, we are fiercely loyal and more than anything, we want our friend to get better.
Gynecological cancer although devastating, is largely preventable and we are able to change the statistics. According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the most effective way to find precancerous cells of the cervix is by getting cervical cancer screenings, which can include a Pap test and genetic HPV test. It is predicted that over 90% of cervical cancer incidences can be avoided through the HPV vaccine. By increasing human papilloma virus (HPV) testing, Pap smear screenings, and HPV vaccine administration it is within reach to significantly lower the diagnosis frequency while improving the quality of life, and survival rate for gynecologic cancer patients everywhere.
We hope we’ve inspired you to remind the women in your life to put their health first this month and book an appointment with their Doctor or Gynecologist. A note from our dear friend, “I encourage each and every woman to take charge of their health and make an appointment to get a pap smear. A few minutes of discomfort can save your life.”