Cervical cancer diagnosis

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  • Hi I’m Nicola, 41 and recently received my stage 4 cervical cancer diagnosis. I’ve been told that surgery is not an option. They will try chemo and radiotherapy once pet scan results come back. Earlier mri and ct show mass pushing on my bladder so I’m in pain and my lymph nodes are enlarged. Pet scan will show up all cancer cells so I’m hoping it hasn’t spread anywhere else. He did mention a spot in my lung but was unconcerned with that. All this came as a massive shock and I’m terrified. My parents are elderly so I’m finding it difficult to be completely honest with them about how I feel. They both have their own health problems. My sister is my only real support but I’m struggling to stay positive about my future. Are their any survivors of stage 4 I can talk to? Thanks Nicola x

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  • Hi  and welcome to our group.

    I’m so sorry to read your diagnosis-it’s a terrifying time for you. We do have stage 4 ladies in the group, so I hope they’ll join in with your thread and can tell you about treatment. I wasn’t stage 4 at diagnosis but have had my cancer recur and been told it was effectively stage 4 although it was always termed “recurrent cervical cancer”. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to get that diagnosis from the outset.

    I’ll tag in  who will hopefully see this, although her situation isn’t quite the same in terms of treatment. One of our new members has joined for her daughter who has just had a stage 4A diagnosis-her name is  and her daughter will also be having chemoradiation. Many of us in the group have gone through this. 

    Chemo and radiotherapy can have good results in holding back the disease, and hopefully your petscan will show no further spread. 

    You’ve had a huge shock, and I appreciate how difficult it is to feel positive when you haven't got all the information you need right now, but that’s ok. You need time to process what you’ve been told and then get the right plan to deal with it.

    From experience, I would advise you not to focus on the stage number, but just take things one day at a time to get through this. You are an individual, not a number, so you don’t yet know how well you might respond to treatment. The treatment combinations you are offered will be designed to give you the best chance possible.

    This is especially hard if you don’t have people to talk to. Macmillan have teamed up with Bupa to offer free counselling sessions, and you can find out more by calling the support line (number in my signature). I had this and found it very beneficial. Even just phoning the support line to talk to someone could help you-they are wonderful, calming and very helpful.

    Have you got help in managing your pain? If not, please ask your consultant as you can be prescribed something to help. Please don’t suffer, as pain just grinds you down in my experience.

    Your fear comes across in your post-this is a LOT to deal with, and it is hard. I’m sending you a virtual hug, and please post as much as you like in the group and we’ll try to help support you. 

    Sarah xx

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi Sarah, thank you so much for your support and guidance, I really appreciate it x 

  • Hi baby dragon, it’s good to hear from you. Thank you so much for the information and support, it really helps. I feel a little more positive after reading this and I have ordered the book you mentioned. Every little helps right? Bless you x

  • Hi, I have stage 4 and was told surgery was not an option. They said it was pointless as I would still need chemo anyway. My mass was 9 cm and I have had chemotherapy first which has shrunk it to 5cm and now awaiting chemo and radiotherapy combined. I understand about the parents bit aswell as I was a carer for my dad prior to my diagnosis, which was difficult knowing I couldn't be there for him so much anymore. However I also have a close friend who has survived stage 4 cervical cancer, been clear for 8 years and is living a perfectly healthy life. She is really positive and definitely an inspiration to me knowing it can be a happy ending. Dont get me wrong I was really scared at the beginning but you have to take each day as it comes and when you have agood day, make the most of it. Dont get me wrong we all have our moments but allow yourself those times and then you can move on. If you bottle things up  it won't help. I found talking to people I knew who weren't as close helped sometimes as they weren't so emotionally involved. You need to find what works for you as everyone is different. Take care and food luck on your journey x

  • Hi, Nicola

    I was 52 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 in May 2019. Please click on my profile for (not too gory) details.

    I think doctors, if we listen carefully, which is hard as most of us are in shock during those appointments, often do say they're not sure, they don't know, they think this, they'll try that. Of course there can be comfort in data for some, but I find none. I just focus on not letting the fear take over. Many many things help with that. Counselling (BUPA / macmillan), gentle exercises online or at Maggie's (free), walking with a friend or family, reading books by survivors (though that can be depressing when you read they subsequently died of their cancer, but extra time is definitely a plus) etc etc etc.

    I also found this Library very helpeful. https://theoartistry.org/files/2021/04/Maggies-Fiction-Library-Guide.pdf Although it is filed on this theoartistry website, it was put together for Maggie's (who offer support for people with cancer and their loved ones) by a very bright and compassionate young man named Ewan Bowlby, who sadly passed away aged only 27 at Christmas. It was part of his research on compassion and cancer care. The list has books and films and series which are helpful in tackling some of the feelings and thoughts most of us seem to have. And there's something there for everyone.

    Very best wishes to you

  • Hi pudgy wombat, thank you so much for your message, it really means a lot. Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, I’ve had a bad week with heavy bleeding and ended up in A&E. thankfully the bleeding has calmed down a bit and all being well my chemo/radiation should start on Monday. Obviously the bleeding and pain brings me down but reading messages like yours really helps me try to think positive and hold on x thank you so much x I honestly wish you well and hope we all get through this x

  • I got the call today and my chemo radiotherapy will begin in a months time. Although its more waiting at least i have a date now. Keep thinking positively and as you said hopefully we all come through this. Good luck for Monday x

  • Hiya, just Finished my first chemo/radiation day. Pleased to report all went well. I was a little nervous at first, had all sorts of unhelpful thoughts about it not working or having allergic reactions etc but fingers crossed all went to plan. For those who have never had it before I say don’t worry it’s easier than you think. Just hope that continues. Long day so take snacks/water etc x I even got a mini shoulder massage from the holistic steam. Didn’t expect that. Only I could turn chemo into a spa day! My heart is with everyone on this journey, I’m with you all x 

  • Hi  

    Glad your first day went well. Hope it continues smoothly for you. 

    Sarah xx

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    Cervical Cancer Forum

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm