On December 23, 2018, 34-year-old Katrina Cunnane was on her way to meet her family for Christmas when she felt blood seeping through her underwear, but she disregarded it as an irregular period.
She said that she stopped her contraceptive injection, so she wasn’t concerned about irregular menstrual bleeding, but her mother, who is a retired nurse, forced her to go to the emergency.
After the examination, doctors put her back on a contraceptive injection because they diagnosed it as a hormonal imbalance.
Even after that, when the bleeding continued with the severe lower back pain, she consulted her general practitioner, who then detected the mass of abnormal cells growing inside her.
On April 4th, 2019, she learned that she has cervical cancer, and the size was too large to remove it from her body. The damage to her cervix was so bad that the doctors told her she’ll never be able to bear a child.
Cunnane said that she didn’t know an irregular period that she took so lightly was the first warning sign of a growing tumor across her cervix, and it was spreading into her womb.
In June 2019, she started her treatment for cancer, which involved six rounds of chemotherapy, 28 rounds of radiation, and three days of brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is a kind of radiotherapy where radioactive material is put into the body so that it can destroy cancer cells.
On March 5, 2020, Katrina Cunnane, who used to train in F45 fitness classes, was told by the doctors that cancer has spread deep into her pelvic tissue and lymph nodes, and they have no other option but to put her on palliative chemotherapy. Palliative chemotherapy is a medical term, which means the end of life care for patients with terminal cancer.
Now Katrina is going through palliative chemotherapy to protracting her life. She says that she is now waiting for a miracle to save her from this terminal cancer. Doctors gave her 12 to 24 months to live.
Katrina Cunnane was one of roughly 950 Australian women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019.
According to the Australian Department of Health, women should do cervical screening tests to check for possible cancer every five years. Cervical cancer is really difficult to diagnose because it develops without showing any symptoms.
There are some warning signs that if we detect in the initial stages it can be easily treatable. The signs include irregular menstrual bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, severe lower backache, and suffering from pain during intercourse.
Katrina says it is about time for women to look out for other women, although it is an embarrassing topic to talk about, and women should have these conversations with each other because many young women are dying because of it.