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Jennie’s Cancer Survivor Story

Photo of Jennie C.

“My instinct has always been to never give up!”

—Jennie C., Cervical Cancer Survivor
Age at diagnosis: 32

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1964—when I was 32. I did not have any symptoms. I went in for my annual gynecological exam and got a Pap test. My results came back as irregular so the doctor recommended more testing. The results showed that I had cervical cancer.

My primary care doctor referred me to a specialist right away to talk about my treatment options. I couldn’t tolerate radiation, so the specialist opted for surgically removing my cervix. I was lucky in that I had a good health care team.

Having cervical cancer truly changed my life. I couldn’t have any more children. I immediately quit smoking. I made sure I went in for all of my health screenings. Most importantly, I went to work and became an active public health advocate. I began as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society as soon as I was diagnosed. I answered the phone for their help line, and gradually took on more responsibilities. In 1999, I became the second woman to serve as the National Chairman of the Board. Through my work I met a lot of women that I am still close to—cancer brought us together.

When I was diagnosed, I promised myself that no matter what happened, I wanted to see my son grow up. He was 2½ then, and he recently turned 53!

My instinct has always been to never give up, and my advice to other women is to get screened!