Tuesday 18 December 2018

'I feel so lucky my cancer was caught in time' - Woman (30) now cancer-clear after early diagnosis

Aishling O Regan from Swords whose pre cancerous cells were detected and removed. Picture:Frank Mc Grath
Aishling O Regan from Swords whose pre cancerous cells were detected and removed. Picture:Frank Mc Grath
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

AISLING O’REGAN, who underwent surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells, considers herself “very lucky” that the CervicalCheck screening programme did what it was supposed to do before her condition became malignant.

Aisling (30), from Swords, Co Dublin, underwent an excision of tissue in her cervix after a pap smear in 2015 confirmed she was suffering from CIN3 –the most advanced pre-cancerous stage.

She is now clear of the disease, which she credits to early detection. But when she went for a pap smear in 2015 through the CervicalCheck screening programme, the test revealed she had high-grade pre-cancerous tissue.

Despite being otherwise fit and healthy and refraining from smoking – which is a risk factor that can prevent the immune system from ridding the body of the HPV virus linked with cervical cancer – the diagnosis came as a bolt out of the blue.

“I was completely blind-sided by it. It shakes you when you hear it,” she said. She was referred to the colposcopy clinic at Dublin’s Mater Hospital and underwent an operation to remove the cells.

She was given the all-clear in February and will now go for regular pap smears as before.

“I’m so lucky it was caught in time. The service has helped a lot of women, although it’s not excusing what has happened,” she said.

“But it does work and if I hadn’t had that test, I’d be telling a different story.”

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