Routine Test Leads to Unexpected Cancer Diagnosis

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Carrie is a vibrant young woman in her early 30s who never imagined a routine test would result in a cancer diagnosis.

In January of 2020, Carrie had her first appointment with a new physician. Carrie’s new doctor wanted to get a good understanding of her patient and completed a full physical including a PAP test (Carrie’s first in about 3-4 years).

What happened next was unexpected.

Two weeks later, Carrie received an evening phone call from her doctor scheduling her in for the following morning. Carrie grew a little concerned as she noticed that her appointment was outside of the clinic’s operating hours. What could be so important as to warrant a next day, before-hours appointment?

After a somewhat sleepless night, Carrie arrived at her doctor’s office and promptly parked the car. As Carrie took a moment to gather her thoughts, she noticed her doctor was waiting for her at the office’s door. This was the moment Carrie realized something serious was going on. After a brief discussion about her pelvic health, Carrie received the very unexpected news that her PAP test had shown she had cancer. How could this happen? Carrie was young, healthy and had no symptoms. How could a simple test change her world so dramatically?

Weeks of tests and biopsies working with CancerCare Manitoba Gynecological Oncologists followed. It was a hard reality for Carrie because her appointments were in the same building she had been in five years earlier while her father battled kidney cancer. Carrie couldn’t believe that she was back but this time it was her facing the uncertainty of cancer.

It was determined that Carrie had Adenocarcinoma, a form of cervical cancer. Tests showed signs that Carrie’s cancer was likely Stage 1. A hysterectomy surgery was scheduled and Carrie was told that the hysterectomy should cure her cancer.

Surgery was a daunting prospect for Carrie, the pandemic meant she would have to go in and recover without the physical aid of family and friends. However, Carrie was determined to make it work. Unfortunately, the surgery revealed more concerns and Carrie’s cancer was now considered to be Stage 2B and she would begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments in four to six weeks.

Carrie started radiation and chemotherapy in the middle of June. Her last chemo treatment was completed a day after her 34th birthday and radiation a few days later. Throughout her treatment, Carrie appreciated the help of a mentor from the Breast and Gyne Centre of Hope.

On October 29, 2021, Carrie received the news that her treatment was successful, and that she was cancer-free. Today, Carrie shares her story as an opportunity to let others know how important it is to get checked regularly. She knows she might not be alive if it wasn’t for a routine test.