‘Broken’ woman’s warning after rare and aggressive cancer robs her of having a baby
A young woman has revealed how she was “living her best life” on holiday but then returned home to read urgent letters from the NHS.
In 2020 Sarah Waters was meant to have a smear test, but it was postponed because of the pandemic.
On April 1 this year, she was able to book another appointment and went to a routine cervical screening.
The 30-year-old didn’t hear anything for several weeks, and so assumed “everything was normal”, but then in May, she travelled to Spain and had the “best time”.
Yet when returning to Prescot on 2 June, “urgent letters” were waiting for her, stating that she needed to be referred to hospital after her results.
Then on June 22, the singer received a horrific diagnosis, that a rare type of cervical cancer called poorly-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma was “aggressive and fast growing”.
The diagnosis was a “complete shock” to Sarah who now must have a full hysterectomy, so the chances of her having her own child have been “taken away” leaving her “broken”.
Bravely speaking to the Liverpool ECHO, she said: “I was told I had high grade abnormal cells and went to Whiston for a biopsy and got the diagnosis on June 22. Since then I’ve had an MRI scan to check if it’s spread and now I have to have a hysterectomy and can’t carry my own child.
“I’ve not got my own family and it’s been terrible. But then, after the hysterectomy, there’s the real possibilities of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I had my very first smear at 25 so I knew what to expect but you kind of put it off in your mind. But you can’t, it’s so important.
“I was on holiday having the best time, the time of my life, in Majorca and got back to that. It was worrying coming back to letters, handwritten with urgent in capitals. It’s really scary.”
Before her smear test, Sarah said she had been experiencing slight symptoms which she put down to something else, including severe lower back pain and lower stomach pain as well as pain during sex.
She added: “My second smear was really uncomfortable and sore but I think that was because it had been so long. Make sure you go regularly, it shouldn’t get to that. Please just don’t put it off, it can save your life.
“I do think the minimum age should be lowered too, some can get cancer at 24, you just don’t know what is happening. I’m still in shock. I only found out last month and it’s been a whirlwind. As well though, the HPV virus, Many parents don’t let their kids get the vaccine and HPV can develop in cervical cancer.
“Everything can look normal but you don’t know what’s happening inside. I’m hoping that the consultant says we have just caught it and everything will be fine.”
Bravely sharing her story on her Instagram page in the hopes of spreading awareness, hundreds of messages of support poured in.
Sarah wrote: “On the 22nd of June, a few months after a routine smear test, I was diagnosed with a rare type of cervical cancer. I was told it was fast-growing and aggressive. It was recently decided that the plan to try and get rid of the tumour is to have a radical hysterectomy.
“The option for chemo and radiotherapy after surgery is still uncertain, so who knows what the future holds at this point. One thing I know for certain is that my chances to carry my own baby has been taken away from me, which has left me feeling broken.
“Hopefully having this smear test has saved my life and I hope this can encourage other women to NEVER miss their smear test. I did not know the symptoms for cervical cancer and only realised now that I have had some of them for a couple of years but had put them down to other things.
“This photo is me just a few weeks before I found out, living my best life on holiday in Spain. I would never have guessed I was going to come home to this. This has completely turned my life and my family’s lives upside down. At the moment, cancer is a very heartbreaking and lonely place for me. Life goes on for everybody else whilst my life is on hold with uncertainty. It is such a scary thing to go through at 30 and will change my life forever and impact my future.”
According to the NHS, cervical cancer is a cancer that’s found anywhere in the cervix and can often be prevented by attending cervical screening.
Main symptoms can include unusual vaginal bleeding, changes to vaginal discharge, pain during sex and pain in your lower stomach, back or hip bones.