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'Cervical screening saved my life': Karina encourages others to screen

“Cancer has made me more self-aware of my own body - if something doesn't feel or look right please see your GP, don't wait for your next screening and don't delay appointments because of COVID-19 or any other excuses!”

- Karina, 52-year-old, lived experience of cervical cancer

52-year-old Karina, a Leadership Coach based in Melbourne, is passionate about encouraging others to screen after her cervical cancer experience.

She had always participated regularly in cervical screening. Throughout her 30s, she had received a few abnormal Pap test results, which meant she was extra vigilant to prioritise screening.

Unfortunately, in the midst of organising her life to move back to Australia after a stint in the UK, she was diagnosed with a squamous cell cervical cancer tumour at the age of 39.

“Initially I was shocked and in disbelief as I'd been having regular Pap tests and treatments.”

“Thanks to regular cervical Pap smears, it was detected early enough that I didn’t need radiotherapy and it hadn’t spread to other parts of my body.”

After a few surgeries, and ten years of regular check-ups and tests with a Gynaecological Oncologist, Karina got the all-clear.

 “Cancer postponed our plans for a while, but I was determined not to let it beat me. I experienced all the change curve emotions over time, it was a rollercoaster!”

Now she’s back living in Australia as planned and is keen to motivate others to screen by sharing her story. In her 50s, she now also takes part in breast and bowel cancer screening.

She advises others, no matter what is going on in your life, or how inconvenient it may seem, make sure cervical screening is top of your to-do list. It could save your life.

“Cancer screening saves lives - I didn't have any noticeable symptoms."

“Cancer has made me more self-aware of my own body - if something doesn't feel or look right please see your GP, don't wait for your next screening and don't delay appointments because of COVID or any other excuses!”

If you're aged 25-74 and have a cervix, you need a Cervical Screening Test every five years. Regular cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer. To find a screening provider to meet your needs, visit our directory here.