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Jodi McKinney's Story
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As a mother of five and wife of 18 years, I’m always on the go. Because of a history of cancer in my family, I make time to get my regular check-ups, including my annual gynecologist appointment, no matter how busy I am.

For 19 years now, I've always come in and had my Pap test done, and it's always been fine. I've never had any issues or problems until recently.

In 2007, when I visited my gynecologist for my annual exam, the receptionist handed me a pamphlet that explained that HPV was the cause of cervical cancer and now there is a test to detect it – the HPV test. I’d never heard of HPV or the HPV test until that day. When it was time to see Dr. Bowers, she explained that she would be giving me the HPV test with the Pap, and I was happy to take the extra precaution. It didn’t take any longer, and I didn’t have to do anything extra. It was just like my normal check-up.

Both Dr. Bowers and I were surprised by the results: My Pap test was normal, but the HPV test showed I had the virus. Dr. Bowers explained that most of the time, the infection goes away on its own and it’s nothing to worry about. She said I should come back in a few months to be re-tested, to see if the infection was still there.

When I came in the second time, my Pap came back abnormal and the HPV test was still positive. So she could get a closer look at my cervix, Dr. Bowers gave me a colposcopy exam and a biopsy, which showed that I had pre-cancerous cells. The first thing I thought about was that I have five kids who need me, so the treatment had to work. I was immediately scheduled for a LEEP procedure to remove all the bad cells. I was very relieved when the surgery went well, and after a few weeks I was back to my normal lifestyle.

I feel extremely lucky that I was able to catch my cervical disease at such an early stage, and that I didn’t have to go through any major surgeries or other treatments. I was able to move on with life and my family. I also feel so fortunate that Dr. Bowers gave me the HPV test. Without that, I probably wouldn’t have found out about my condition until cancer had already developed.

Now, I talk to all of my friends and family about getting their annual exams, Paps and HPV tests. The Pap is an old standby, but it may not be enough to protect you. And most of us are past the age when the new vaccine can help. The HPV test is available, and women should take advantage of it. It saved my life. It could save yours.


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