Real People Stories – Tetyana Ivanivna B

Tetyana Ivanivna B. is 40 years old and works. Two years ago, she got her diagnosis of cervical cancer. She went through a difficult path from diagnosis to intensive care, but for a long time, she continued to believe in recovery. The woman suspected something was wrong after her period came for the second time in a month. This went on for 3 or 4 months when she consulted a doctor and got an HPV test.

“As it always happens, everything turned out unexpectedly. Against the background of complete health, even at my age, I suddenly began to have problems – pain in the lower abdomen. At the polyclinic, during the examination, the gynaecologist said that I had a polyp on my cervix. They immediately sent for surgery. When the distant tumour was examined, they immediately informed me that I had cancer.

At first, I didn’t even want to believe it; before that, I didn’t even imagine what cancer was and that it could happen to me. Experiences and fears appeared later. At home, of course, everyone was worried; my mother looked at me with a pitiful look, constantly cried, and my husband did not leave my side. I forbade my mother to cry, and my husband forbade me to watch something bad on the Internet; he generally supported me a lot.

The regional oncology clinic reported that surgical treatment was necessary.

I didn’t believe it, so I went to the clinic immediately. Oncology is generally a diagnosis where time is one of the most valuable resources—in every sense.

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, doctors constantly tell you to do one thing or another: something needs to be removed, or something cannot be saved; they refer to protocols and normally do not explain anything. Luckily, I had a STD doctor who explained everything and was interested in my health. They developed a treatment plan for me, the first HPV test and an examination, operations, and a long recovery. When there is a plan, it is good because you know what awaits you and what will happen next.

I had an operation. The affected area was removed, and the cavity was checked. In general, I managed to save all the organs, and I did not expect the doctors to be so cool! But after talking with the doctors, I realised that my case was an exception to the rules. In 99% it is not possible to save the organs. And I was also told that if I had regularly taken a smear for cytology (the usual Pap smear), all these circles of hell could have been avoided, and the issue of organ removal would not even have been raised.

Unfortunately, other women are not as lucky as I am.

I feel great and have become a “maniac” about my health. I undergo an examination every three to four months. Now, my STD health comes first; everything else will wait. I want to appeal to women:

” Many of us forget about ourselves, forget that we need to visit a doctor and take STD profile tests regularly. I don’t forget about myself. If I don’t take care of myself, then who will? ”

Indeed, a regular Pap test allows the timely detection of changes in the cervix. A pap smear is a procedure to take samples of cells from the cervix and examine them under a microscope. The study must detect cellular abnormalities indicating HPV cancer and other diseases, such as inflammation and infection. The Pap test can detect precancerous conditions and even very small tumours that can lead to its development.

Regularly performing it at the beginning of sexual life reduces the risk of cancer by 80%.

Factors that increase the risk include:

  • early onset of sexual life with a large number of sexual partners;
  • smoking;
  • non-constant use of barrier contraception;
  • cervical injuries;
  • heredity, cervical cancer in mother/grandmother/sister;
  • HPV infection;

There is an indication of more intensive observation in their presence.


 Went to see my GP last night (I’d not seen him before), and my goodness, what a gem he was! I brought my letter for him to read. He asked me what I was scared of and what I’d read. I told him the thought of getting viral cancer was terrifying and that I didn’t have a clue what HPV was. 

He told me that it can take up to 10 years for HPV to start them disease. It doesn’t just happen overnight like a switch. Otherwise, the smears would be pointless. He said there are about 6 stages to becoming cancer: Normal Cells > Abnormal Cells > CIN 1 > CIN 2 > CIN 3.

So even if women do miss a year, the fact that they screen every 3 years would ultimately mean that if you did miss a screen, on the 6th year, you would still be caught, and any changes would be treated. 🙂 

He said that by then, you’d have been checked and screened, and it would’ve been all lasered away. He also said that it would take 41,000 smears to find that one woman who’d have STD cancerous disease straight away (because generally, everyone else would’ve been screened and would never actually get to that point). The majority of women will relapse back to the start, even when they’re at CIN 3. 

Is it the second biggest killer?

I also asked him if STD disease was the second biggest killer in women, and he said that wasn’t true – it’s about the 15th. It just happens to be the most common cancerous disease in young women. This is why so much money is thrown at it to help prevent and treat it. 

He also mentioned that if there was any consolation (which, at this point, I’d listen to anything!), only about 3000 women received a diagnosis of cervical-type STD disease last year. Only 800 women died – and those women were probably those who didn’t undergo the regular screening processes or never underwent screening. (Obviously, that’s not for everybody). But considering about 31 million women in the UK, the odds are fairly slim. 

Anyway, I feel a lot better after seeing him. I wish they’d tell you this about cancer and getting regular HPV tests in the letter rather than frightening women and just expecting them to be okay. I told him how anxious I’d felt and how upset I’d been. He said I wasn’t the only woman to have the same conversation, saying it was scary. 

I asked him about having the vaccine for further strains, and if it was worth having. He said he thinks I’ve probably missed the boat (I think because I’m too old—I’m only 31!). 

I also asked him if I could do anything to fight STDs. He said there wasn’t much apart from trying to stay healthy with a good immune system. 

I’m due for my next STD screening on August 19, but after all this, I’d happily have them every six months. That’s for sure! 

I hope this makes you feel a bit better and somewhat reassured 🙂 

Lots of love xxx