Fox Business host Gerri Willis shared her breast cancer diagnosis over three years ago to normalize what had been until recently an intensely private experience that left patients isolated.
Her Facebook posts reverberated throughout social media and demonstrated an eagerness to stand in solidarity with other survivors.
Unfortunately, cancer has returned to Willis’ body. While some would consider the details embarrassing, the courageous reporter has decided to share them all to shed the stigma associated with her condition and facilitate a dialogue that will encourage people to seek preventative treatment, instead of surrendering to shame. (Western Journal)
“In this case, more pre-cancer cells have been discovered on my cervix,” she wrote, contrasting this diagnosis with her previous one. “I told you about my struggle to contain these cells just a few months after my doctor found them late last summer.”
“I thought a simple cone biopsy had removed them. But as luck would have it, the virus that is creating these cells, HPV-18, is still in my body and creating more of these problem cells.
“I debated whether to talk about this publicly. After all, HPV is transmitted by sexual contact. It’s embarrassing. Not the topic of polite cocktail chatter. I didn’t want our Fox family to think less of me.
“But the truth is, HPV is worth talking about simply because it is ignored. Fear of the virus sometimes makes us reluctant to get the facts. That was me. I knew nothing beyond the ads I saw on television. What I have learned since is that HPV can lay dormant for decades. And, then, when you least expect it, unmask itself. That’s what happened to me.”
HPV is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), with an estimated 79 million people in the United States currently infected. Eighty percent of sexually active adults will have it at some point in their lives (the vast majority never knowing it), and 14 million Americans will become newly infected this year.
Unlike other STIs, HPV can spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex.
For men, there is no way of determining if they have the virus, as most will not develop any symptoms or health problems.
Cases rarely become cancerous and vaccinations are now available at most pharmacies, doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, and hospitals.