Your Health: Cervical cancer study promotes regular testing

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - A study in Stockholm, Sweden shows regular testing raises the chances of cervical cancer cure from 66 to 92 percent. The group studied more than 1200 women for three years.

A hospital bed is the last place somebody wants to end up, but doctors say if you get the cervical cancer screening test done every year, it lessens the chances of your becoming a statistic.

Dr. David Engle specializes in female cancer.  He is a gynecological oncologist.

"The 'pap smear' was originally developed to help detect cancer and prevent people from dying from cervical cancer," said Engle.

Pap smears are part of a yearly gynecological exam. Results are generally ready in a week.  Engle said the numbers in the study are astounding.

"You see a 30% less chance of survival waiting to be diagnosed by symptoms versus screening," adds Engle.

Glynnis Tucker lost her struggle with cervical cancer in October of 2011. Her husband, Tim, says it began four years earlier in the summer with non-painful symptoms.

"She was clear in '08 after a hysterectomy and treatments, chemo and radiation in '07, fall of '07 at UAB. And then throughout all of '08, every test came back negative - nothing. Then in January, a scan showed it came back in four places," said Tucker.

They were told conventional treatment could offer nothing more, so they went to M.D. Anderson for experimental treatments in several clinical trials.   Tucker said Glynnis had just started a new job and for her the biggest heartache was her lack of children.

"This woman was absolutely meant to have a child and it was like the hardest thing. She was more upset about that for the longest time than cancer," he said.

Glynnis leaves a legacy for her family and friends based on her personal strength, which Tim tries to fulfill, including raising awareness and even helping women of the future.

"A Glynnis Cory Tucker Memorial Scholarship to go to an underprivileged female student from Austin High school every year because she stood up and was such a passionate advocate for poor women. We felt like that was one way to keep it going," he said.

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