Pictured above: Megan Higgins with her partner Ash
For 35-year-old Megan Higgins, a regular trip to the GP for a Pap smear saved her life. She now urges women and people with a cervix to be diligent with their cervical screening.
"My cervical cancer journey began in September 2019 when I was 33," Ms Higgins said.
"My partner, Ash, and I decided to start trying for a baby, so I went to my GP for a check-up.
"I had always been vigilant with my Pap smears, but I realised that after moving house and changing GP, I was overdue for my screening.
"HPV 16 was detected in my Cervical Screening Test, so I was referred to a gynaecologist who initially thought I needed a LLETZ procedure to remove pre-cancerous cells, however this was then upgraded to a cone biopsy instead as the affected cells went higher up in my cervix.
"Follow-up PET and CT scans revealed there was a few millimetres of cancerous cells left. It was then I was diagnosed with stage 1A2 Adenocarcinoma of the cervix.
"In June 2020, I had a radical trachelectomy to remove my cervix and pelvic lymph nodes.
"Life has thrown me a lot of curveballs in the past five years, but I am also so very grateful that my cervical cancer was picked up in the early stages and it could have been so much worse. I am now in the clear and able to keep trying for a baby.
"Screenings are so important so please don't put them off; it's five minutes of inconvenience which could save your life."
While cervical screening is important for all women or people with a cervix aged 25 to 74, in Western Australia only 46 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds took part in the National Cervical Screening Program in 2018-2019.
Funded by the WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, our new ‘At Your Cervix' campaign aims to increase these numbers to protect the health of our young communities and ultimately save people like Megan's life.
The campaign will run for Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. It will be promoted across digital and radio platforms from 8 November until 5 December 2021.
For more information