The ghost that haunts my family

By Kate H.

Kate and her mom

Kate and her mom

Cervical cancer is in my genes, and it’s a ghost that haunts my family. I feel like this is the time to tell my story, and how it led me to Planned Parenthood.
That’s because I just turned 38. And when my mother was 38—and I was just 11—she died of cervical cancer, leaving six children behind. Many women in her family also died from cervical cancer, and while most people know that the HPV virus can lead to this type of cancer, fewer people are aware of the genetic risks. Women whose mother or sister have had the disease are between two and three times as likely to develop it, according to the American Cancer Society.
I visited her grave recently, in a tiny town in northern New England. And while the circumstances of my life different than most Planned Parenthood patients and volunteers, they are also a powerful example of why the health services Planned Parenthood offers are so important. Read more.
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