On September 2016 Saturday morning, Erin Andrews received a phone call from her doctor that would change her life forever. After an inconclusive yearly exam, Andrews’ gynecologist sent her for further testing, and the findings had finally come back.
After learning that Andrews had cervical cancer, time was of the essence. We had to operate on her. Andrews expressed shock at the revelation during an interview with Coping. I feel fantastic. She remarked, “I never considered myself to be a possibility for (cervical cancer).
After thinking everything was great and preparing for Week 3 of the NFL season, the player says, “I got a call that I wasn’t.” Afterward, I imagine you experience nothing except sheer fear. She didn’t want her health to be a distraction in the office.
She wanted as much time as possible between the surgery and her Monday night hosting gig on Dancing with the Stars, so she booked it for a Tuesday. The next day, she was on the sidelines covering a game.
Erin Andrews kept the news of her condition to herself and her immediate family and friends, and she missed not a single game that season. It’s not something you want to talk about, she said, because “I work in a male-dominated sector.”
It was something I thought I needed to keep to myself. I aimed to win against it. “I just needed to be able to concentrate on my work.” True enough, she ended up doing just that. Two procedures were performed on Andrews, and in November, her oncologist gave her the good news that cancer had been eradicated.
Andrews was eager to talk about her experience now that it was over. After telling Sports Illustrated her tale, she received several phones calls the following day from reporters and her employer interested in hearing more about how she managed to keep working despite her illness.
She was approached by football players who wanted to express their gratitude on behalf of the ladies in their lives who had dealt with the same illness. Erin Andrews, a vocal cancer activist, is on a mission to persuade more women to have regular checkups and discuss Pap+HPV testing with their doctors.
One woman dies every two hours from cervical cancer, she added. You don’t have to die from this, and that’s the message I’m trying to spread to women. It can be cured if caught early enough. But you should visit the doctor for a checkup.
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Learning About Cervical Cancer
The Pap smear is a screening test commonly used to identify cervical cancer, a kind of gynecologic cancer; during this test, your doctor will take a sample of cells from your cervix (using a small brush or spatula).
The cells are then studied microscopically for signs of disease, such as cancer or precancerous alterations. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is known to cause over 70% of cervical cancer cases, including those experienced by Erin Andrews and others.
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is by far the most widespread STD. According to Dr. Allen Ho, head of the Head and Neck Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who was previously interviewed by SurvivorNet, “The great majority of individuals in the U.S., both men and women, will ultimately get infected with human papillomavirus.”
There are numerous types of HPV, but only a small subset of them are associated with an increased risk of developing cancer. Less than one percent of infected people likely carry the cancer-causing virus that their immune system cannot eradicate.
Cervical cancer, like the one that Erin Andrews overcame, is unusual in that it may often be prevented by the use of the HPV vaccination. Because of this, SurvivorNet recommends that all people who are able to do so get vaccinated against HPV.
Since HPV can only be spread through sexual contact, vaccination is often administered to young children before they begin the sexual activity.
Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center who specializes in head and neck cancer, recently told SurvivorNet, “We suggest strongly that children get vaccinated against HPV to avoid cervical cancer, but also to prevent head and neck cancer.”
What’s most important about this vaccination is that you get it long before you ever have your first sexual experience. As a result, these vaccinations can be given to children as young as 9 years old and as old as 26.