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“My vital prognosis was engaged”: her papillomavirus caused her two cancers, this young Azurean says

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“My vital prognosis was engaged”: her papillomavirus caused her two cancers, this young Azurean says
Written by madishthestylebar

Unprotected sex almost cost Stacy her life. The manager? The papillomavirus, a family of viruses causing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and, in the most serious cases, cancers.

About 6,400 cases of cancers linked to HPV (human papillomavirus) are diagnosed each year in France, mainly of the cervix (44%), anus (24%) and oropharynx (22%), in France. ‘after the National Cancer Institute.

At 28, Stacy is in remission from two cancers of the cervix and colon, caused by HPV. “I am a rare case”confides with a smile the Théoulienne.

Removal of the uterus and brachytherapy

It all started in May 2020, five months after the birth of her first child. Worried about continuing to bleed, she makes an appointment with a gynecologist, who gives her a smear for the first time, this examination being recommended from the age of 25.

“This is where I learn that I have the papillomavirusrecalls Stacy. So far, things are going relatively well. It’s not very serious, it can be cured.”

Her optimism is extinguished when she is told, after advanced tests, that she has cancer caused by this virus and that she will not be able to keep her uterus.

“I asked the surgeon crying if I could have a second child before, he answered me “you can but this baby won’t have a mom anymore”.”

To avoid menopause, and therefore premature aging, Stacy has her ovaries transplanted below her ribs. “I was able to maintain my menstrual cycle but I have no more discharge.”

At the same time, she begins brachytherapy, to irradiate the tumor directly and at high doses. “You keep a box inside the vagina so it’s very painful but very effective. It hasn’t been easy to live with, a lot of humiliation because it’s not a very pleasant area to show all the time to doctors.”

Nine centimeter tumor in the colon

In December 2020, the condition of La Théoulienne deteriorated. She loses 12 kilos and her stools become bloody. His oncologist and then a gastroenterologist assure him that it is probably an effect of brachytherapy and that there is nothing to worry about.

“Nobody believed me so I packed my things and went to the clinic where I had already had surgery.” Finally supported, Stacy passes several exams.

“My surgeon, the one who operated on my first cancer, comes into my room telling me that it may be hard to believe but I have colon cancer and the tumor is nine centimeters.”

“At the time, I have no words. I have nothing that comes to me except the shock of telling myself that, nine months later, I still have cancer when I am young, young mother in addition . The world fell apart a bit but I decided to hold my head up.”

The biopsy reveals that the tumor is from the papillomavirus, making Stacy a “rare case”. She endures a heavy operation by laparotomy, that is to say with an open belly, to remove it from her colon as well as part of the rectum. “I have come a long way because I learned later that my vital prognosis was engaged.”

The laparotomy operation left Stacy with a scar running from the top of her navel to her vagina. Photo Lauriane Sandrini.

Prevention on social networks

Today, two years later, Stacy is better but still has the consequences of her operations. Recognized as category 2 disabled, the trained pastry chef can no longer work.

“I can no longer contain my stools like everyone else, I have to go to the toilet 15 to 20 times a day and it’s very annoying.” To live, the Théoulienne receives the maximum amount of the disabled adult allowance (AAH), i.e. €956.

“Post-cancer is almost more difficult to live with. Everyone thinks you are cured, there is no more operation, we don’t talk about it anymore, but I remain perpetually on this subject since I have a follow-up for five years.”

His body has changed and his state of fatigue remains constant, causing him to restrict his social life. “Often I am told “Come on Stacy, get out, go exercise” but no, I can’t actually do it, I need to rest.”

Post-cancer is almost harder to live with.

Despite the presence of her relatives, the young mother felt “alone in the face of cancer”. “I would have liked to have my questions answered, not to face everything that I have experienced in the most total unknown.”

That’s why she took to social media, hoping to inspire people to get tested for HPV and protect themselves during sex. Today, more than 21,000 people follow her on TikTok.

“It is absolutely not normal not to have a smear before the age of 25 since, in general, the first reports take place before. We do not have enough prevention, not enough checks and not enough listening at the subject of the papillomavirus.”

Stacy wants to intervene in schools to tell her story and continue to do prevention. With this in mind, she would like to write a book. “I want to shout it to the whole world because today it’s me but maybe tomorrow it will be you.”

Despite her terrible journey, the young woman says she is happy. “Psychologically, I’m very well. It’s sad to have to go through such difficult trials to realize how beautiful life is. Today, I’m really content with nothing, everything makes me happy. I have become another woman and I am very proud of it.”

Papillomavirus: screening and vaccine

“Most sexually active women and men will be infected” by the papillomavirus “during their lifetime”, warns the National Cancer Institute. It can be transmitted despite using a condom, including through oral sex and fondling.

“90% of infections detected are eliminated naturally within two years and the majority of HPV infections [papillomavirus humains] are asymptomatic. When infection with certain high-risk HPVs (especially 16 and 18) persists, it can lead to the development of precancerous and cancerous lesions affecting the cervix, anus, oropharynx, vulva, vagina , penis, oral cavity and larynx.”

In case of lesions that may progress to cancer of the cervix, conization is recommended. This intervention makes it possible to surgically remove these “high-grade” lesions.

Screening

Only one screening exists and concerns only women: the smear, which allows superficial cells to be taken by light rubbing in the vagina.

This examination is recommended from the age of 25 then once every two years until the age of 29, once every three years from the age of 30 to 35 and once every five years until the age of 65.

The smear can in particular be carried out by a gynecologist or a midwife.

Vaccine

“The latest marketed vaccine (Gardasil 9) protects against HPV infections, which are particularly involved in 90% of cancers of the cervix, 80% of anal cancers and 90% of anogenital warts (condyloma)”assures the National Cancer Institute.

The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys aged 11 to 14, with a possible catch-up between 15 and 19, and up to 26 for homosexual men.

It can be carried out by a doctor, a midwife or a nurse on medical prescription, in a hospital, in certain public vaccination centres, in a free information, screening and diagnosis center (Cegidd) or a of family planning.

“The efficacy and safety of vaccines against HPV have been scientifically demonstrated. Despite this, vaccination coverage remains low in France (21% for the complete regimen at 16 years old).”

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