A New Mom’s Pelvic Pain Turned Out to Be Cervical Cancer

In January, Nicola Cameron, 29, brought her daughter into the world. Nicola was so excited to begin her motherhood journey with her healthy, happy, and beautiful baby. But according to an article in SurvivorNet, Nicola was facing an unexpected health challenge. During her pregnancy, she had experienced some discomfort. Following birth, Nicola was experiencing intense and often debilitating pelvic pain. After a number of misdiagnoses, Nicola was eventually diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer.

Prior to her diagnosis, Nicola had been experiencing symptoms for at least two years: months-long cramping and spotting. But her doctors wrote it off. Even when Nicola became pregnant, her doctors determined that her discomfort and symptoms were simply due to her pregnancy. She kept asking doctors for help, but was told that it was just discomfort from scar tissue. From her C-section. 

Nicola required painkillers to get her through her days. She began losing weight rapidly. In May, doctors finally felt like they had an answer: an abscess. However, further testing found that not only did Nicola have cervical cancer, but the cancer had spread to her uterus, pelvis, and possibly lymph nodes. 

Moving forward, Nicola doesn’t know what the future will bring. She will undergo treatment, but other than that, everything feels somewhat unknown. Despite this, Nicola is doing her best to stay positive and to raise awareness. She wants people to understand the importance of advocating for themselves; if they feel that something is wrong and they aren’t being taken seriously, they should find a second opinion. 

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer, as you might surmise from the name, begins in the cervix, which connects the uterus and the vagina. There are multiple subtypes of cervical cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma. Specific human papillomavirus (HPV) strains have been linked to the development of cervical cancer. A majority of people who contract HPV do not develop cervical cancer. In other cases, the virus remains in the system and contributes to cancer development. It is extremely important for women to keep up-to-date on their pap smears, which can help identify precancerous cells and aid in early treatment and management. Additional risk factors for cervical cancer include early sexual activity, smoking, STIs, having many sexual partners, and diethylstilbestrol exposure. 

Symptoms related to cervical cancer can include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bloody, watery, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Dull back ache
  • Swollen legs 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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