Having your cervical cancer screening is something many women still don’t put as a priority. It has never been more important to book an appointment for one as recent figures revealed that women attending the tests was at a 20-year low… this is shocking.
Alexandra Hodson from Kirkham, Lancashire, was shocked to discover that she had the disease during a routine test. Although she reported symptoms months previous to the test, they had been put off as side-effects to her contraception.
The 26 year-old single mother had been experiencing pain during intercourse, bleeding in between periods and after sex. These are the main symptoms of cervical cancer.
Although she went to get her symptoms checked out, she was told by a nurse that her symptoms were ‘normal’ due to the contraceptive injection.
Alexandra’s sister, Nicola, said:
“Alexandra was diagnosed last year in June with the cancer. She hadn’t spoken to the family about her symptoms, but she had all the red flags: pain during intercourse, bleeding afterwards and in between periods.
“Alexandra told her nurse that she had all these symptoms, but they said ‘that’s normal’ because of the contraceptive injection she was having.
“She knew this wasn’t normal and she felt so guilty after that she didn’t question it further.”
Alexandra had a letter through inviting her to have a test.. her results revealed she had abnormal cells and she was sent to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a colposcopy. Sadly, because it was found she had precancerous cells the hospital still didn’t feel it was urgent.
Alexandra, feeling un easy about her results, went straight to her GP who immediately felt a tumour.
An MRI scan confirmed the devastating news that she had the disease.
Her sister, Nicola, explained:
“Eventually Alexandra saw a female doctor and felt the tumour in the internal exam.
“She examined her and told her there and then, Alexandra was on her own. Alexandra phoned our mum, she was in shock.”
Alexandra began radiotherapy and chemotherapy a month after her diagnosis, but a sadly, a scan found that Alexandra’s tumour wasn’t responding to treatment and if she continued with the treatment.. it could damage her other organs.
“They scanned her and they said the tumour looked ‘swollen’ on the scan.
“We all knew what that meant – bigger.”
Alexandra has been through so much, she found out the tumour had shrunk then was told it had started growing again. They said she would need an operation to remove her bowel, reproductive organs, part of her vagina and have a stoma bag.
This changed as surgeons said the tumour was touching Alexandra’s pelvic wall making it too dangerous to operate.
“The doctor told us they weren’t going to go through with it. The scan showed that the tumour was touching the pelvic wall and they couldn’t do the operation.
“Every time when you try and keep positive your told more news. We have to go and get on with it.
“Alexandra’s gone down to a five stone eight and all her taste buds have gone.
“She loved garlic. Garlic was the one, but she can’t taste it and she used to love garlic bread.
“They have given her shaker for calories, but she is really struggling.
“The pain is so bad, she can’t walk and has to use a wheelchair when it’s bad.”
At this time, the family are trying to raise funds for a trial of immunotherapy. This is a treatment that helps the body fight the cancer by helping the immune system recognise and and attack cancer cells.
“I can’t sit back and do nothing.
“Alex is up and down because she is struggling mentally. We’ve all struggled, we cope because we have to.
“We all have our own lives whilst trying to what we can for Alex and say we are fine, but we’re not fine and we can’t crumble.
“I love my little sister and I’ll never give up fighting for her.
“At the minute this will give me a focus and I don’t want cancer to be her final story.”
Donate to Alexandra’s GoFundMe page here to get her the treatment she needs.