The youngest and seemingly healthiest among us are at risk of having serious, life-threatening conditions go undetected.
Heather Keating knows this struggle well and took an opportunity earlier this month, on World Cancer Day, to educate Facebook followers about cervical cancer.
The 24-year-old urged young women to seek out pap smears and determine whether or not they are cancer-free before they start exhibiting symptoms like abnormal bleeding, heavy periods, foul-smelling discharge and pelvic pain during sex.
In a post on February 4, Keating reshared several photos from her recovery phase.
Today is world cancer day ☺ Thanks to everyone that has shared my post to raise awareness. It's been shared over 3,000... Posted by Heather Keating on Thursday, February 4, 2016
Along with the photos, she wrote,
I was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer at the age of 24. Because I was 24 I was not entitled to a free smear and the early cell changes in my cervix were not picked up... I started bleeding between my periods and bleeding after sex. I went to see my GP and was told to come back when I was 25 for a smear… Three months later the bleeding got worse and I became anaemic. I returned to my GP and was referred to a gynecologist… I was told I had cervical cancer… Fortunately the cancer was confined to my cervix and surgery would be able to remove it. Four weeks after being told I had cancer it was gone! I was lucky so so so lucky to have caught it on time.
Now cancer-free, Keating hopes young women reading about her experience will take necessary precautions to avoid serious battles with cancer.
If [you're] over 25 please go for your smear tests make time for it!… I wish I had the opportunity to have caught the cell changes before it became cancerous. If you are under 25 and feel something is not right please go and get it check out with your GP.
One quick visit to the doctor could save your life. Take the morning off work, book an appointment and heed Keating's advice.