A Sanger woman shares her journey with cervical cancer

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Stéphanie Gonzalez does not like to think about it because, at 41, death is still surreal for her.

“It doesn’t hit me…like I’m dying,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t feel like I’m dying.”

Gonzalez was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer in 2017.

“After nine weeks of treatment, I got scanned three months later and was at stage four,” Gonzalez says. “So it didn’t work. It spread during that time.”

Doctors told him he had less than two years to live. As a mother of five, Gonzalez knew it was time to fight back.

She got a second opinion.

“Signed up to be a guinea pig and get an experimental drug,” Gonzalez says. “Four treatments later, I was in remission.”

She learned last year that her cancer had returned.

She is therefore, once again, in the process of being treated.

“From what they know about my cancer right now, there’s no cure,” Gonzalez says.

Doctors say cervical cancer is preventable.

It is caused by HPV or the human papilloma virus.

A Kaiser Permanente OB-GYN says the first method of prevention is the HPV vaccine.

“Boys and girls, if we can, between 9, 10, 13, 14, hopefully before they have sex. For us to get a series of these two to three vaccines, in depending on their age,” Dr. Amanda Reeves of Kaiser Permanente in Clovis talks about getting vaccinated. “Then they will have resistance or at least a very, very reduced incidence of even these abnormal cells infected with these high-risk viruses.”

Another important prevention method is screening for cervical cancer every three years, starting at age 21.

Dr Amanda Reeves says he can detect abnormalities even before they become cervical cancer and then treat them.

And that’s what Gonzalez would have liked to do.

“I think it was about eight years from when I had my abnormal pap to when I went to the ER,” Gonzalez said.

Now she’s sharing her story to help other women, so the thought of death isn’t even a thought at all.

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