If Brisbane local Morgan Harris had the opportunity to go back in time, she would skip back five years to 2014, and tell herself how proud she should be for seeking medical advice after noticing a change in her body.
“This year I’m celebrating five years cancer free, which is the perfect time to reflect on my cervical cancer journey,” Harris said.
“Being diagnosed with cervical cancer was not at all on my radar in 2014, mainly because I was young (27-years-old), healthy and active.
“I had received the Gardasil injections in high school and had received a negative result from a pap test only three months prior.
“I had no idea at the time, but by simply noticing and getting an irregularity checked out, I gave myself the best chance of survival.”
Ms Harris has since become an advocate for cervical cancer awareness and has an important message for all Queensland women.
“Early detection is key – I cannot emphasize this enough,” she said.
“You can still do everything right to reduce your risk as much as possible, but at the end of the day, knowing your own body and taking action when you notice something just slightly off, can greatly increase your chance of surviving cancer.
“As women, we don’t need to feel ashamed to talk to each other about it or have an honest conversation to our GP’s about any changes we notice, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
“It seems easy to chalk up body changes to life’s stresses, however it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
In celebration of her five-year cancer free milestone, Harris recently held a Girls’ Night In event to raise funds for Cancer Council Queensland’s work in breast and gynaecological cancers.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by catching up with all the important women in my life and raising funds for those impacted by women’s cancers,” she said.
About cervical cancer
Cancer Council urges all Queensland women to help raise awareness of cervical cancer and get up to date with their cervical screening.
Around 200 Queensland women will be told each year they have cervical cancer, and 60 of those will lose their life to the disease.
With major improvements in preventable measures and early detection, the likelihood of women living another five years after a cervical cancer diagnosis has increased to 74 percent. To further this trend, Queenslanders need to be vigilant.
Anyone with a cervix who has ever been sexually active and is aged between 25 to 74 is encouraged to get up-to-date with their cervical screening.
The test is a simple procedure to check the health of your cervix. It feels the same as the Pap test, but tests for the human papillomavirus (known as HPV).
The science and the tools to markedly reduce cervical cancer is available however the public’s determination is needed to move forward and help eliminate the disease.
More information about cervical screening visit https://www.cancer.org.au/cervicalscreening/.
If you, or a loved one, has been impacted by cervical cancer, please call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 for information and support.