Oh gosh… So where do you begin? So Back in January, I was offically diagnosed with stage 3 squamous cell vaginal cancer. Cancer is a topic that you think will never touch you personally, as in touch your own body.
Unfortunately though, sometimes it does. And sometimes it does affect the “good” people who have done nothing to deserve it.
Sometimes you are not the master of your own future. Smetimes it is not down to your genetics, environment or lifestyle… Sometimes you are just plain unlucky.
Vaginal cancer and the statistics
Normally, when you think of a 28 year old female diagnosed with cancer, you will most likely think of ovarian, cervical or breast cancer. Vaginal cancer, I didn’t even hear of before my treatment so I wouldn’t blame you for thinking of those first either!
If you look on the Cancer Research UK website, you will see that vaginal cancer affects just 1% of the UK population in their lifetime. It is a cancer that is more likely to affect those over 70… now isn’t that a kick in the teeth? I’ve got an old lady cancer. Once my oncologist got into the nitty gritty parts of my cancer, I found out that the survival rate is 40% after treatment! Well holy hell… How are you meant to get your head around that? Thinking about it now, are the statistics so unfair because these ladies have actually died from this cancer? Or is it because they’re so old and other complications occured?
Vaginal Cancer is on the same strain as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The HPV vaccine was introduced into the UK in 2008 for 12-13 year olds. In 2008, I was 20, so at this point I had already missed that boat to be vaccinated against it. In Autumn 2009, a catch-up plan was introduced to vaccinate all girls up to the age of 18.
Looking back, I was aware of all the media hype concerning the HPV vaccine but as I wasn’t in the age gap that concerned me I was ignorant to it. Looking at it now though, how much more is it a kick in the teeth that I was shy of just 3 years to be applicable for the very vaccine that could have prevented me from having cancer! Not only do I have old lady cancer, I could have been vaccinated against it if I was just a few years younger.
Where it begins
I like to think I’m special. Haha. With life showing me how unpredictable it likes to be I’m thinking I’m not gonna be the average Jo(anne) when it comes to treatment and recovery. With the only thing positive in this whole thing, my age, they threw everything at me that my body could cope with. So in time I’ll tell you as much as I can the fun journey I took with Chemotherapy, Radiatherapy and Brachytherapy. Coz lets face it… I seem to be a pretty rare case as they keep telling me!