Liz Lange, a cervical cancer survivor, talks about how she dealt with the disease. She also emphasizes the importance of getting screenings for cervical cancer.
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Juli Auclair: Hi, I'm Juli Auclair, and today we're talking about something that all women need to hear about, HPV or human papilloma virus and cervical cancer. The statistics are absolutely frightening. Did you know that 80% of women will be infected with genital HPV in their lifetime? Those infections clear up on their own but those that don't may lead to cervical cancer and we're joined in the studio by someone who has been through it. Founder and president of Liz Lange Maternity and cervical cancer survivor, Liz Lange, is here to share the story of her personal battle with the disease. Thank you so much for coming in. Liz Lange: Well, thank you for having me, Juli. Juli Auclair: How are you doing now? Liz Lange: Well, I am healthy today. I'm healthy-- Juli Auclair: Thank goodness. Liz Lange: I'm happy-- Yes, thank goodness, thank you. Juli Auclair: So, while most people know you for your beautiful maternity clothes that celebrities love to wear, I love also to wear during my pregnancies, they don't know that you were going through the fight of your life. Back in 2001, diagnosed with cervical cancer at just 35 years old, must have been so frightening for you. Tell us a little bit about how you found out that you had it. Liz Lange: I found out just at a routine Pap smear. It is so important for women to get these routine screenings and Pap smears. I am very, very fortunate. It was the screening that saved my life, but it was, as you mentioned, absolutely terrifying. I was a mother of two very young children, a 2-1/2-year-old son and a pretty much newborn baby girl and it was a shock and very, very frightening and because HPV really, in most cases, has no signs or symptoms, I had no idea. Juli Auclair: Tell us what kind of treatment you went through after finding out? Liz Lange: It was a tough treatment. I had surgery and surgery was followed by both chemotherapy and radiation that were done together which is, you know, which is somewhat grueling. Thankfully, I was cured and the good news about cervical cancer is that, in many cases, if caught early, it is curable and, again, that is why getting these screenings is so crucial. You know, I was listening to the statistics that you mentioned and I wanted to add another, that there was a recent surgery done by the Gynecological Cancer Foundation and they found that actually, 89% of women don't think that they're at risk for HPV. Now, 30 women a day are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Juli Auclair: It's so scary. Liz Lange: Scary. I was one of them. You know, as you said, 80% of women will get HPV. Most of that will not lead to cervical cancer. Juli Auclair: So go to your doctor. Liz Lange: Go to your doctor. Juli Auclair: Get checked out, and since you were diagnosed and have been cured, you've been working very hard to raise awareness about HPV, about cervical cancer, tell us about the health journal that you've designed and how women can get one. Liz Lange: Oh, what's great is there's a website, allaboutcervicalcancer.org, and if you go that website, you can take a quick quiz and learn more and just for doing that, I have designed this special journal. It is free. It's my gift to you and it's a great journal if I do say so myself. I think it's very chic and very pretty, but more than that, it will help you keep track of when to get these screenings. There's a full calendar in it, and there's more than that. There's places to take notes, questions to ask your doctor, things your doctor said. I personally know how hard it is to remember all that stuff. Juli Auclair: Liz Lange, thank you so much for coming in, for sharing your story and everyone needs to have one of those journals. Liz Lange: Thank you. Juli Auclair: Thank you so much and for more information about HPV or cervical cancer, go to www.allaboutcervicalcancer.org, and now let's check in with a doctor to find out exactly what HPV is, whether you can prevent it, and what we should be telling our teenage daughters. Fema
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