Why a British Cancer Survivor’s Case Should Not Be as Unique as It Is

Pregnant womanA British woman has beaten the odds and overcome cervical cancer by getting a second opinion, which, as a new study indicates, one in five woman ought to do.

Five months ago, 34-year-old Naomi Orme feared the worst when her doctors said she had cancer. Her only chance of survival, her doctors claimed, was a hysterectomy, a procedure commonly used on uterine fibroids and other issues, like cervical cancer; however, it would also ruin her chances of having children.

Not wanting to face life if it meant never being a mother, Orme began to search for alternatives, and found another option that could hopefully keep her alive without destroying her eggs: a trachelectomy. The procedure removes the uterine cervix without damaging fertility.

After undergoing the procedure, Orme is now cancer-free.

“I am over the moon to be cancer free in time for the New Year. I still don’t believe I’ve actually managed to beat cancer, I feel like I’m walking on air,” said Orme. “Since my diagnosis in July, I have had to battle with doctors to get the right treatment plan. If I wasn’t so persistent about getting a second opinion, I would be infertile now. Beating cancer was always my main goal but I wanted children in the future and I knew deep down there was a way to keep my dream alive.”

Orme’s case should not be unique, but, unfortunately, it is. A brand new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reveals that one in three women will have had a hysterectomy by the time they turn 60, yet nearly one in five women who undergo a hysterectomy may not need the procedure.

“This study provides evidence that alternatives to hysterectomy are underutilized in women undergoing hysterectomy for abnormal uterine bleeding, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or pelvic pain,” said senior investigator Daniel M. Morgan, MD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan.

Orme, who documented her entire battle with cervical cancer on her blog, hopes her story will encourage women to get a second opinion, as she did.

“It was a miracle that I had managed to keep my fertility but I fought so hard to be given the right procedure,” said Orme. “I hope other women read my story and seek a second opinion, I have changed my future.”

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