Woman diagnosed with cervical cancer says doctors dismissed four telltale symptoms

A financial manager who lost her mother to cervical cancer in her early 20s and was later diagnosed with cervical cancer said she knew she had to be “strong for the family” as she feared her children would be “too young not to have a child”. mother”.

Crystal Manuel, who lives in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, lost her mother, Dolores, to uterine cancer when she was 26, and was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 37 after experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding for nearly a year.

The mother of two, now 39, explained that she was experiencing heavier and more painful periods, lower back pain, “leg pain” and bleeding after sex, but despite multiple visits to the doctor, “they didn’t pick anything out” and her symptoms continued.

After pushing for a diagnosis approximately a year later, Crystal was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma cervical cancer, which she said was “very scary” – especially as her mother had died three months after being diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Now, as a cancer survivor, Crystal wants to emphasize the importance of “(listening) to your body” and checking if “something (isn’t) right.”

“(My mom) was 49 and had bleeding and the doctors thought she had fibroids so she was going in for a hysterectomy and when she went in for her evaluation before the operation that’s when they realized it wasn’t just fibroids – it was cancer .

“Unfortunately, it was too late; she was diagnosed in November and passed away in February of the following year, three months later.

“It was caught too late.”

She added: “It was very scary (when I was diagnosed) because with her it was only three months and she was gone, and she would always tell us, ‘If you have any pain and pain’ – because she probably ignored it for a good while too time – ‘just go and get checked’.

Cervical cancer is cancer found anywhere in the cervix – the opening between the vagina and uterus – and according to the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, it currently kills two women in the UK every day.

Symptoms include unusual vaginal bleeding, changes in vaginal discharge, pain during sex, or pain in your lower back.

(PA Real Life)

A cervical screening, known as a smear test, checks the health of the cervix and is a test to help prevent cancer – and although Crystal’s results came back negative, the bleeding persisted and she knew “something wasn’t quite right”. ”.

Crystal said it was extremely difficult to get an appointment with her GP due to the coronavirus pandemic, but after insisting on being seen she got an appointment and was referred to Southampton General Hospital where she had a cervical biopsy.

Weeks later, she received the devastating news that she had cervical cancer and had an MRI and CT scan.

Given that Crystal’s mother died three months after her diagnosis, Crystal said it was “very scary”.

“I was really scared… I lost my mum to uterine cancer, so that made it scarier,” she said.

“You are more concerned as a mother; you’re anxious and (you) get stressed because you don’t know how bad it is and you’re expecting the worst.

    (PA Real Life)

(PA Real Life)

However, despite Crystal’s fears, she knew she had to be strong for her husband, Clive, 39, a British Gas regional manager, and their two children, Camron, 15, and Chaia, 12, as she didn’t want to worry (her family).

She continued: “I have two kids and a husband so it was really scary but obviously you have to be strong for the family.

“Whatever happens will happen, but when you have children, you think to yourself, they are too young not to have a mother.”

Crystal explained that while she sometimes feared the worst, her diagnosis “wasn’t a death sentence” and she “tried to carry on as normal”.

She feels her positive mindset was instrumental in helping her get through her treatment, which included a radical hysterectomy – a surgical procedure to remove the uterus – five rounds of chemotherapy, five weeks of daily radiotherapy, followed by two weeks of brachytherapy.

Crystal said she recovered well after her hysterectomy and didn’t lose her hair from the type of chemotherapy she underwent, but she did experience some “horrible” side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, bone pain and loss of appetite, as well as enter menopause.

Although she did her best to stay positive during her treatment, Crystal explained that she “felt sick a few days”.

    (PA Real Life)

(PA Real Life)

She still remembers crying in front of one of the nurses, saying, “I can’t take it anymore”.

However, Crystal knew she had to “get through this”, and it is only now that she has begun to process the impact of her diagnosis and treatment.

“When I look back now, I actually feel sorry for myself; I think, oh my gosh, I’ve really been through so much,” she said.

“But at the time, I think, because you just have to go through it, it’s like you’re in survival mode.

“You’re in pain and a lot was happening – my blood pressure dropped and I was weak and sick – but when I look back on it, it’s like it never happened.

“At the time, you know you have to endure, you have no other option.”

Three months after Crystal’s treatment ended, she was given “all clear” and now has check-ups every few months.

    (PA Real Life)

(PA Real Life)

While she felt a sense of “relief” and happiness to be in remission, and her physical health has since improved, Crystal explained that it’s been hard to process the last two years, adding: “It all happened so fast… it’s surreal.

“You’re happy (to be cancer-free), obviously, but you’re not feeling very happy because I think you’re still mentally processing – everything you’ve been through.”

Crystal explained that her diagnosis and treatment “taught (her) a lot about life and what’s important in life”, adding: “In reality, we’re not all here forever, so for me right now, I’m living life in a way that different; I am living life (to the fullest).”

Now, Crystal wants to encourage other women to get their sputum smears and push for a diagnosis if they feel “something (isn’t) right.”

“Just listen to your body because, luckily for me, that’s how I detected it,” she said.

“I knew something wasn’t right… (but) I had to push to be seen.

“Advocate for yourself, (and) if you have any symptoms, or anything you feel is not right, with anything in your body, go and get checked out.

“(My mother’s cancer) was detected too late, and she said, ‘Any ache or pain, go and get tested,’ and I agree.”

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is launching its biggest ever campaign: #WeCan End Cervical Cancer, to work towards a day when cervical cancer is a thing of the past. You can find out more by visiting: www.jostrust.org.uk/ccpw

Woman diagnosed with cervical cancer says doctors dismissed four telltale symptoms

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top