No woman should ever die from cervical cancer.
That statement from a physician who says regular screenings for this cancer are routine, and can save lives.
Carla Burbidge has this week's Eye on Health.
Alicia Curtis of Minot is happy to be at home doing some scrap booking.
Life took an unexpected turn, two years ago.
After years of having normal pap tests, doctors found something abnormal.
They did a second test and the results were the same.
(Alicia Curtis, Minot Resident) "I tend to take everyday one day at a time, especially now."
Her abnormal results were shown to Trinity OB-GYN Dr. David Amsbury.
He found that she had cervical cancer in it's very early stages.
(Dr. David Amsbury, Trinity OB-GYN) "She's a perfect case of a young healthy woman. If she wasn't getting her paps, if she waited maybe a year or two, maybe she didn't have insurance, maybe she didn't like doctors, she would have come in with a much more severe case of cervical cancer, maybe needing radiation and chemo, all at a very young age."
Alicia had a hysterectomy and is doing just fine.
She's gets a check every six months.
January is a designated as Cervical Cancer Awareness month, a good time for women to consider making an appointment to get a pap test.
(Alicia Curtis, Minot Resident) "One miss, and I probably wouldn't be here today because that was two years ago. If I had not done my regular check-up."
Cervical cancer is not hereditary, it is caused by a virus known as HPV.
In fact, it is now recommended that young people get vaccinated for it.
Often, the cervical cancer is slow moving, but in Alicia's case it developed pretty fast.
(Alicia Curtis, Minot Resident) "Every day I smile cheerfully, it could have been different."
(Dr. David Amsbury, Trinity OB-GYN) "Definitely. Her life was saved."
Dr. Amsbury says cervical cancer is rampart in some of the countries that do not have good screenings and good medical care.
In the U.S., the cancer can be caught early with a simple pap test, and if caught early, can be treated.
For Eye on Health, I'm Carla Burbidge.