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Patient Leader #FollowFriday – January 5th, 2018

January is cervical health awareness month. To help raise awareness, we’re featuring three amazing cervical cancer survivors and Patient Leaders.

Take a few minutes to learn about why they advocate and why talking about cervical health is so important in the lives of all the women we love.

 

Erica Frazier Stum

Cervical Cancer Patient Leader

 Twitter  |  Website

I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 27, in 2012.  I am now living my life with cancer.  I think that being a patient advocate is important because through this advocacy we can greatly reduce the number of cervical cancer incidences and I want other women to know they are not alone.  There can be life with cancer. “

 

Colleen Marlett

Cervical Cancer Patient Leader

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website

“My name is Colleen Marlett and I share my story so that no other woman diagnosed with Small or Large Cell Neuroendocrine Cervical Cancer may ever feel the isolation and loneliness I felt when I was diagnosed with SCCC in 2006. 

In 2006 they said I’d never meet another living soul with SCCC as it was so rare and so aggressive.  I hate to be told I can’t do something.  So between my first diagnosis and my second, I set out to find that other surviving soul, and I did. There was no information to be found about SCCC.  There was nothing but “poor prognosis” when googling.  So together with my new partner in crime, we set out to change that.   Today, with women from all over the world we have a social media support group, an informational site partnered through MD Anderson Cancer Center as well as a Global Tumor Registry and Research fund through them. We also have a group site  www.thesororityofhope.com and have written a book whose proceeds go to the fund.  Now when you google Small or Large Cell Cervical Cancer you find hope.

SCCC and LCCC are non-HPV related Cervical cancers with no early warning, pre-cancerous stage. Although the HPV vaccination won’t protect you from SCCC/LCCC, it’s important you get vaccinated if you qualify, to protect yourself from other cervical cancers.  Then, be proactive with your health and make it to your Well-woman annual exam every year! 

This is why I share my story and joined WEGO Health.  To make sure ALL the information is out there and not just what the mainstream cervical cancer propaganda shares.If the information I share saves one life, then it’s all been worth it.  No woman should ever be alone with a diagnosis and now if facing SCCC or LCCC you won’t be.”

 

Jennie Elms

Cervical Cancer Patient Leader

  Twitter  |  Website

“I advocate for cervical cancer awareness and prevention to remove the stigma associated with cervical cancer and to end cervical cancer caused by HPV. Almost 100% of women diagnosed with cervical cancer got it from high-risk HPV infections that didn’t resolve on their own. Since cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), there is a sense of shame that comes with the diagnosis. There is also an attitude with some people that a woman who has cervical cancer is promiscuous. That is absolutely false. A woman can contract high-risk HPV the first time she has sexual intercourse. A woman who is a virgin can also catch it because it can be transmitted from skin to skin contact. And more to the point, NO ONE deserves to have cancer!

I want people to understand these facts, and to vaccinate their daughters AND sons against HPV. There’s a stigma around vaccinating your child too. A lot of parents either feel that it’s granting permission to have sex or just don’t feel comfortable talking to their children about sex. The recommended age for the HPV vaccine is 12 years old; some doctors are giving it to children as young as 9. With kids that age, you don’t have to explain what the vaccination is; just treat it as any other vaccination. Would you go out of your way to tell your child what the Tdap vaccine is for? No, It’s important to vaccinate your sons because they carry the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer, and there are types of cancers that men can contract from HPV – neck and throat cancer, penile cancer, and anal cancer are all risks. If you are gay, you can still pass on high-risk HPV to your partner, whether male or female. The HPV vaccine prevents you from catching those high-risk strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer. In a perfect world, the HPV vaccine would be a required vaccine for school-age children.

75% of the population is estimated to have HPV. Not all of those strands are high risk, and most will resolve on their own. But all women need to have their annual well-woman exam and follow the schedule the Centers for Disease Control recommends for when to get a Pap smear. Prevention by vaccinating your child or children up to age 26, and make your reproductive health a priority, as early detection saves lives.”


If you’re feeling inspired by these top Patient Leaders, you should join our network!

When you join our Patient Leader Network you’re first to know about the new and exciting things we’re doing at WEGO Health. Not only will we reach out to you when we have paid opportunities in your condition area, but we’ll also connect you with other Patient Leaders so you can share ideas and help each other amplify your messages. What are you waiting for? Join today!

Did you miss last week’s #FollowFriday? You can catch up here!


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