Fighting Cervical Cancer For Third Time
- TikTok star Kenzi Paquin shares raw update on her cervical cancer journey with her millions of followers.
- She recently found out she’s battling cancer for a third time.
- Says “I was supposed to be getting Pap smears every six months after that and I didn’t go.”
- Every year in the U.S., approximately 14,480 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and almost a third of women diagnosed will die.
@kenzinichole_ My cancer journey..updated. help me spread awareness! Lets continue saving other women! 💪🏼 pap smears are so important! #cancer#cancersucks#health#positivity#mom#kids#love#family#sad#faith#hope#pray#strong#fight#mommy#daughter#son#cancerfighter#fightingcancer#staystrong#women#womenshealth#prevent#awareness#cervicalcancer#iloveyou#teamkenzi#help#helpothers#awareness#cervicalcancerawareness#trending#viral#letsgo#encourage#positivity#happy ♬ original sound – Kenzi ♥️
“I’m living my worst nightmare,” reads one of the Tik-Tok captions with a picture of Paquin’s tear-stained face and wearing a hospital gown.
Another Tik-Tok post shows her shaving the middle of her head, while another post shows her crying.
Survivornet has been following Paquin’s journey since she received her first cervical cancer diagnosis in 2016.
She had surgery to remove it, but ignored the recommended follow-ups with a doctor – including pap smears — allowing her cancer to return for a second time unchecked.
“I eventually had symptoms of bleeding between periods and during/after sex,” she said. “I also experienced horrible cramps and back pain, an odd odor and discharge, and pain during/after sex. I have constant nausea and fatigue.”
Regular Pap Smears Recommended
In the United States, experts say anyone with a cervix between the ages of 21–29 needs a Pap smear every three years, regardless of prior sexual activity.
“I was supposed to be getting Pap smears every six months after that and I didn’t go,” Paquin said.
Between the ages of 30–65, Pap smears are done every five years. If at any point a Pap smear or HPV test comes back abnormal, more frequent or intensive testing may need to be done.
People with certain medical conditions, such as HIV, get Pap smears on a different schedule.
“If I had been getting my regular check-ups, I would’ve caught it early again,” she told Buzzfeed. “I waited three and a half years and the next thing I was told is it was stage IIIB.”
What followed were multiple chemotherapy and radiation treatments, seven surgeries and, eventually, a clear PET scan.
Unfortunately, however, Paquin’s bliss was short lived when a recent PET scan for her three month checkup revealed a two inch tumor in her abdominal cavity.
She has cancer for a third time.
“She never expected the news she received… her cancer was back,” her mother recently wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Her and her family are DEVASTATED.”
@kenzinichole_ Get your paps. Theyre so important 🙏🏼 #cancer#cancersucks#teamkenzi#women#womenshealth#cervicalcancer#mom#wife#family#love#story#foryou#faith#hope#pray ♬ sonido original – Usuyo uwu
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Stage IIIB is when the cancer has spread to the pelvic wall and/or the tumor has become large enough to block one or both ureters.
Every year in the United States, approximately 14,480 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and almost a third of women diagnosed will die from this disease.
Cervical cancer is critically important because an earlier diagnosis can mean a better prognosis with broader treatment options.
The American Cancer Society recommends that cervical cancer screening begins at age 25, and people aged 25 to 65 should have a primary HPV test, an HPV test done by itself for screening, every 5 years.
If primary HPV testing is not available, however, screening may be done with either a co-test that combines an HPV test with a Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years.
HPV and Cervical Cancer
About 13,170 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year, making up about 0.7% of cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute. The disease has a 65.8% survival rate after five years.
Nearly all sexually active people will be infected with Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection almost immediately after they become sexually active, according to the National Cancer Institute. HPV is also the biggest risk factor for cervical cancer, and there are usually no early signs or symptoms of the disease. However, cervical cancer can be detected through regular check-ups.
Dr. Allen Ho, director of Head and Neck Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on the basics of HPV and cancer risk.
Other risk factors for cervical cancer include giving birth to many children, smoking cigarettes, using oral contraceptives (“the Pill”), and having a weakened immune system, according to the NCI.
The most common screening technique for cervical cancer is a pap test, during which doctors collect cells from the surface of the cervix and vagina, and view them under a microscope to see if they are abnormal.
After Paquin was told she had cancer again, her concern shifted to her family.
“The first thing I thought of was my kids and how hurtful it would be for them to live without a mother,” she said. “You don’t typically have symptoms with cervical cancer until it has progressed. That’s why annual Pap smears are so important.”
Paquin is currently on chemotherapy, and some doctors have told her she only has a year left to live.
Others have told her she has three years, tops. But several are hopeful she will be cancer free again.
“Cervical cancer is known as the silent killer. Yearly Pap smears are vital,” she said. “You are your own health advocate, stand up for yourself and your health. No one else will.”