Local cervical cancer survivor sends message to women

Health Check

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – This year, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be nearly 14-thousand new cases of cervical cancer, with almost 4,300 women dying from it.

Anne Zajic from Topeka was overjoyed to welcome twin girls in November of 2015. But shortly after giving birth, she started not feeling right.

“Some of the symptoms I was having, felt like they were postpartum symptoms. I finally went to my doctor in March or April (2016) and said I have this continuous period and things just don’t seem right,” Zajic said.

For months her doctors couldn’t find the reason for her pain, so they suggested she have a medical procedure.

But when she woke up from the procedure Zajic said doctors told her they hadn’t done the procedure because they discovered she had Stage 1B2 cervical cancer.

“It really made me question my mortality. The entire time I was thinking, I really want to see my girls grow up and see who they become,” Zajic said.

“I think Anne’s case is a testament to the fact that cervical cancer can happen to anyone,” said Dr. Lori Spoozak, a women’s cancer doctor at The University of Kansas Health System. She was a young healthy woman. She was 36, I believe. She had excellent healthcare. She was up to date with her pap smear testing on guidelines. And unfortunately, her cancer progressed in between pap testing.”

Zajic said the HPV Virus is most likely what caused her cancer, and at the time she was not in the age range to get the HPV vaccine.

“If she had been of that age range of women to get vaccinated, it is very likely she would have had a preventable cervical cancer,” said Dr. Spoozak. “So even our best methods we think we can fall back on and rely on, it’s just never good enough. The best way to prevent it is through vaccination.”

After eight weeks of chemotherapy and various radiation therapy, Zajic is now three years cancer free.

Her message to all women today is: “If you are under the age of 45, you can still get that vaccine and prevent a lot of aches and pains and illness.”

For information about Gynecologic Cancer Care at The University of Kansas Health System visit: https://www.kansashealthsystem.com/gynecologic-cancer?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgI3Vobmc5wIVAdvACh2xywG6EAAYASAAEgLZEfD_BwE

For more information on Cervical Cancer, HPV, and the HPV Vaccine visit: https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8601.00.pdf

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