Cervical cancer survivor diagnosed at 24 shares story to inform others
When Ms Summer Ng was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer in 2016, she was only 24 .
It came as a shock to her because like many young Singaporeans, she viewed it as a disease that afflicted only older women.
Prior to her diagnosis, she had never gone for human papillomavirus (HPV) screenings nor vaccinations, and started to experience unusual bleeding outside of her regular menstrual cycle.
She was advised by her doctor to undergo a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Ms Ng told The New Paper she chose to remove only her cervix as she "always wanted to be a mother".
While the surgery was a success, she went on to suffer two relapses in 2017 and 2018, in part due to that decision.
She underwent chemotherapy both times and today, the entrepreneur is determined to help raise awareness for the cause by being an ambassador for the I AM Campaign, launched yesterday at a forum organised by youth advocates of the Alliance for Active Action Against HPV (A4HPV) and community leaders.
Cervical cancer is the second-most common cause of deaths from cancer in women aged 15 to 44 in Singapore.
Dr Chris Chong, A4HPV's medical technical adviser, said at the event: "Cervical cancer is caused by HPV, which affects both men and women, and can be prevented. Awareness is key to early prevention."
BAGS FOR RWANDA
As part of the I AM Campaign, up to one million handmade bags each containing an HPV screening voucher and information kit will be produced and distributed for 12 months starting from July.
For a contribution of $30, members of the public will receive a pair of bags - one to be kept for themselves and the other donated to a person in Rwanda, which has one of the highest number of cervical cancer patients in the world.
As Ms Ng continues to share her story, she is learning to remain optimistic and thankful.
She said: "This journey was a blessing in disguise. It changed my view on life, helped me to understand my purpose, how to be happy and how to love myself."