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Cervical cancer patient urges people to reschedule routine exams

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 02, 2022

TAMPA, Fla — For the last few years, Amanda Romero has been trying to get to the bottom of her pain.

"I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia first and then I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis," she said.

And when the world shut down in 2020, she says it got worse before finally sending her to the emergency room in April of 2021.

"I was experiencing severe bleeding, like blood clots, pain, headaches," she said.

After a pelvic exam in the hospital. She was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer.

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"It was a localized tumor, it was six centimeters and it spread all across my pelvis, it was touching some of my other organs," she said.

Romero has documented much of her journey, over the last 9 months, on Tik Tok.

Her videos include an update from late last year when she found out that despite chemo a new type of tumor had started to grow.

"It spread fast, it takes over organs and it grows despite chemo and radiation," she said.

As she preps for the second round of a new type of chemo, she tells ABC Action News that her diagnosis could have been caught earlier if she'd been able to get her scheduled pap smear in 2020. She wasn't able to, because appointments were canceled due to COVID-19.

Stories like Amanda's, are why doctors are strongly encouraging people to start rescheduling their routine doctor's appointments and exams.

"We've been seeing a lag on a lot of the screening. Not just with cervical cancer but breast cancer, colon cancer," said Dr. Sara Cruz-Luna of Optum Health.

Dr. Cruz-Luna says prevention is key, either through those routine screenings or in the case of cervical cancer, through the HPV vaccine.

"There's very little cancers that we have a vaccine for. This is the only one I can think of right now," she said.

"Prevention" is a word Amanda is shouting from the rooftops. And it's part of the reason she's documenting her journey.

"If they can detect it early and they can just do a hysterectomy or remove it, that's what you want to be done. You don't want to put it off and wait until you're in a situation like mine. Because now we live in the unknown and it's all trial and error," she said.

Amanda's cancer treatments have also led to some pretty big medical bills, that she and her family are now struggling to pay.

To help her out, a local nonprofit is hosting a fundraising event for her on March 6 at Old McMicky's Farm in Odessa, FL.

The event will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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