At age 24, Danielle received a call from her gynecologist stating that she had an irregular Pap test result. She still remembers this call so clearly and gets chills down her spine. She went in for a repeat Pap test and when that came back irregular as well, a biopsy was ordered. The lab had found she had high-risk HPV and pre-cancerous cells in her cervix. When I found out, I felt terrified and very lonely, says Danielle, I only heard the word “cancer” not the “pre”in front of it.
Danielle underwent two cryosurgeries, a procedure in which freezing gas is used to remove pre-cancerous cells on the cervix. However, her lab tests showed that the pre-cancer was still there. She then underwent a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) which removes abnormal tissue from the cervix and vagina to both diagnose and treat cervical disease with the help of a wire loop heated by electric current. After two years, three procedures, and many lab tests she finally received the Pap results she had been hoping for: all normal.
“Without laboratory testing I would not have known that I had pre-cancerous cells in my cervix. I'm afraid to think of what my life would be like without laboratory testing, because it's highly likely that I wouldn't even be here to ponder the question.”