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A cervical cancer survivor, Heather voices support for HPV as first-line screening test

On March 12, 2014, in front of an FDA advisory panel of experts, survivor Heather Banks shared her personal experience with cervical cancer, and challenged a group of experts to think about how her life might have been different if cervical cancer were not a part of her history.


My Journey to Diagnosis

At the age of 31, Heather Banks was pregnant with her second child when she had her first abnormal Pap and also tested positive for high-risk HPV. Less than a year later, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and underwent a radical hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. Heather’s testimony as a young mother was very moving as she described how following treatment, she prematurely entered menopause, more than 20 years earlier than she should have, and while cancer-free today, she still suffers from on-going medical conditions that resulted from her treatment.


What's Important for Me to Share

At the conclusion of the FDA Advisory Panel, the experts voted unanimously that there was sufficient evidence to support that the cobas® HPV Test was both safe and effective, and the benefits of the test outweighed the risks. It is Heather’s hope that other women and girls of the next generation may be spared this type of journey, as Heather believes that if she had HPV screening earlier, as a first-line test for cervical cancer, her risk may have been identified sooner, potentially changing the course of her disease and diagnosis. 

On April 25, 2014 the FDA approved Roche’s application for the cobas® HPV Test to be used in first line primary screening for cervical cancer in women 25 years and older.


"Heather believes that if she had HPV screening earlier, as a first-line test for cervical cancer, her risk may have been identified sooner, potentially changing the course of her disease and diagnosis."


Share your story

If your life has been touched by cervical cancer in some way, we want to hear it from you. Your personal story can help us inspire others to get tested for cervical cancer or cope with the cervical cancer diagnosis.

 

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