President of Planned Parenthood Shares Her Story of Cervical Cancer with SELF
Jan 30, 2019

As we come to the close of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Lena Wen, President of Planned Parenthood shares her story about being diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 27 years old, and the impact it made on her life, both personally and professionally.

Below is an excerpt from the article published in Self.

When I was in medical school, I went to my student health center for an annual checkup and Pap test. It was a routine visit, and I had no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary.  A week later, my doctor told me that my results were abnormal, and I would need to be retested—a phrase uttered to more than 3 million women in the U.S. each year.

Then three weeks later came the diagnosis: “You have what could be early cervical cancer.”

I was in shock. I had just studied the reproductive system as part of my coursework, and I’d been startled to learn the statistics: Every day, 35 women across the U.S. are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, according to data from the CDC. Hundreds more are diagnosed with precursors that could lead to it….

More than 4,000 women die of cervical cancer each year, including a disproportionate amount of women of color. Black and Hispanic women are diagnosed with cervical cancer at higher rates than white women are, and they are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, making it harder to treat.

Dr. Wen, eventually became the President of Planned Parenthood to ensure that all women have access to timely vaccinations and health screenings.  Read Dr. Wen’s full story on

Visit our Vaccinate Your Family website to learn more about the HPV vaccine to protect against human papillomavirus, a common virus that can cause genital warts and six types of cancer  – cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penis and throat cancers (oropharyngeal cancer).



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