Clinical Trial Awareness Month: Cervical Cancer Needs YOU!

That first season of a TV, Netflix, or cable series is a total experiment. Producers wonder how the characters will resonate with the target audience. Advertisers are hopeful that their two-minute commercials and ads are crafted well enough to bring in sales. And actors cross their fingers that fans love each episode more and more, and demand a second season. The result: a cult following of a show that lasts for years, providing viewers the comfort of entertainment and solace.

While it may be a stretch, we can think about clinical trials in the same way. This method of medical research, is in fact, a pilot program for scientists to experiment, test, and prove what works, and what can result in medical breakthroughs – again, for the comfort and solace of those impacted by health challenges like cervical cancer.

You may have heard us at Cervivor championing the dire importance of clinical trials. We continue to stress the importance as this is the only way we can pave a way toward slowing down the loss of members in our community, thriving without having to lose parts of our bodies, and ultimately eliminating cervical cancer.

We said it before:

  • We need clinical trials to drive progress.
  • We need trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of every type of treatment.
  • And in order to determine that safety and effectiveness, we need volunteers.

We choose not to subscribe to the stigma around being a “guinea pig” or a “test dummy.” Without clinical trials, treatment, diagnosis, and prevention efforts are slowed down. The effectiveness of new medication, treatment, and therapy can only be proven through trial – and yes, error. Take a look at the thousands of trials around the globe currently recruiting patients, in addition to those that are active, completed, and terminated with results. Thanks to people including several of our Cervivor community members like Teolita, Erica, Jenn, and Linda much more work is being done daily to make sure our community – and the generation after us, and after them – can thrive.

“I decided that if this clinical trial was good enough for Jimmy Carter, it was good enough for me!” – Teolita Rickenbacker

It’s important to note that Cervivor advocates for cultural competence throughout our medical journey, including in the clinical trials process – and we should all be looking out for this. This means, making sure that the medical community understands, and is intentional about how they communicate with a diverse audience of women, whether Black, Brown, young, mature, and those who speak a language not native to their medical team. It is super important that the medical community, including those coordinating trials, speak different languages, and understand the experience of those who are part of a focus group. This important aspect aids in building and maintaining trust with those participating, which, in turn, helps us trust in both the process and the expertise of trial organizers.

This process takes a lot of teamwork: scientists work on hypotheses, patients report on progress and challenges, and doctors monitor outcomes. The result: an increase in clarity, more answers, more awareness, more options, and longer lives. Have a discussion on clinical trials with your care team and support system. Learn more with these recommended resources:
https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cervical-cancer/cervical-cancer-clinical-trials
https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/home

If you have experience with a clinical trial and want to share it with us, contact us at info@cervivor.org.

The Cervivor Podcast: Season 1 Recap

In anticipation of the Season 2 release, we’re taking a look back on Season 1 of the Cervivor Podcast hosted by our very own Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder. It was a season where we laughed, cried, and learned from guests during Cervivor School 2017. We give honor and observance to those featured in these podcasts that are no longer with us. To be able to hear their voices, laughter and transparency is a special treat for us. We hope you think so, too.

If you haven’t listened to Season 1 yet, take a moment and do so now – currently available on Anchor.fm, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Spotify.

Recap by Episode:

  1. Cervivor’s “Most Enthusiastic” awardee, shares all the things we wanted to know but didn’t want to ask in “Dry Panties, Depends, and Urine. What Does This Have to Do with Cervical Cancer?” Turn the volume all the way up and be proud as you listen to Holly Lawson talk about obstacles during diagnosis.
  2. “Everybody’s voice makes a difference,” says Erica Frazier Stum whose school-aged son knows his mother may be gone sooner than she should be. This podcast episode is a special treat hearing Erica’s voice posthumously who passed away in 2019.
  3. “Education 101: What is Lymphedema?” Heather Banks drops a few jewels around compression undergarments, drainage, swelling, and giving yourself grace when you just … can’t. 
  4. Balancing school, work, her grandmother’s dementia, and an unexpected stage 4 cervical cancer diagnosis, Teolita Rickenbacker says she found her calling amidst an overwhelming period. “It’s nothing wrong with having cervical cancer; it’s nothing wrong with having any kind of cancer. It’s just how you define it.” Listen to “The Will to Live: How Faith Got Her Through a Cancer Diagnosis.”
  5. In “Acceptance of Death: How She is Making Her Story Matter,” Lisa Moore shared her story of diagnosis, kidney failure, and coming to grips that once she passed, her 30-year-old husband would likely start a family with someone else. “I have accepted death. I’m done being stuck, I’m done being treated. I’m ready to just live my life … it’s a different kind of hope.”
  6. The aftermath of a car accident reveals Sierra Thetford has cancer, but despite a six-month prognosis to live, she sought solace in sharing her story and becoming a gym rat. Listen to “Wrecking into Cancer: How the Gym Became Her Refuge.”
  7. Lynn Tromp talks about cervivorship globally and being open to new experiences, “I trusted my medical doctor. He spoke to me with confidence. Even though it was a trial, he spoke to me with confidence,” said Lynn who lives in South Africa. Listen to “Cancer in another country: A Tell-all From South African.”
  8. In “Toxicity in Relationships: Coping with Cancer,” Dr. Ramani Durvasula talks with Tamika Felder about feminism, narcissistic relationships, and convoluted thoughts that we can experience during diagnosis and treatment. 

Season 2 of the Cervivor Podcast is moving past the archives. Join us on Friday, May 13, 2022 for the Season 2 Episode 1 release!

We’ll be welcoming our first guest, Joslyn Chaiprasert-Paguio. Joslyn was diagnosed with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) at the age of 18 and with cervical cancer at the age of 24. She shares her story to encourage women and future generations, like her daughter, to advocate for themselves and make their health a priority. You’ll also hear what else you can expect on this Season of the Cervivor Podcast.

For more Cervivor-related content, check out our award-winning YouTube channel, CervivorTV. Follow Cervivor on all social media platforms and sign up for our newsletter. If you would like to be interviewed for upcoming Cervivor Podcast episodes or to request content or speakers for future episodes, fill out this form or contact us at info@cervivor.org.