Pascagoula woman beats cervical cancer, encourages others to get frequent checkups
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Each year, more than 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer. In the state of Mississippi, an average of 149 new cases are detected annually, according to The Mississippi State Department of Health. While the numbers are staggering, the disease is preventable.
Kelly Ardoin, 44, learned she had cervical cancer at age 43, and became one of the thousands of woman diagnosed with the disease.
“It was just abnormal cells on the pap smear,” Ardoin said. “They recommended further treatment or testing and so that’s when it was confirmed, and they referred me to Dr. Finan, and he performed a biopsy, which again, confirmed it was cancer.”
Ardoin became a patient of Dr. Michael Finan, MD at the Singer River Regional Cancer Center in Pascagoula.
“Cervical cancer is curable when caught early. If you can catch it at stage one, it can be treated with a hysterectomy,” Finan said.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer that affects women globally. According to Dr. Finan, a large percentage of women still lack knowledge of how the illness impacts the body.
“The uterus is shaped like an upside-down pear, so the mouth of the uterus is the cervix,” he added. “It sits up at the top of the vaginal canal. The cancer develops generally inside the cervical canal.”
The Singing River doctor says the key to getting ahead of the diagnosis is to schedule yearly visits to gynecologists.
“The pap smear is really designed to detect cells before they turn into cancer,” said Finan.
Kelly Ardoin was diagnosed in her forties. In most cases like Ardoin’s, cervical cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages.
“There were no symptoms; never had anything abnormal before,” says Ardoin. “It was not bad enough that I had to have chemo or radiation that the hysterectomy took care of all of it.”
Kelly Ardoin is now cancer free. She wants to encourage women to prioritize their health and get regular check-ups.
“I say to any woman go and have that yearly screening. It doesn’t matter your age; it doesn’t matter if you’re having any problems,” she concluded. “It doesn’t matter if you’re going to have any children just go and have that yearly screening because I know that’s what saved my life.”
Singing River Hospital’s cancer center offers a free breast and cervical cancer program. Qualified applicants can receive one free mammogram and pap smear yearly. For more information, visit https://singingrivercancercenter.com/.
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