A cervical cancer survivor, Heather voices support for HPV as first-line screening test

My Story | Heather Banks


My Journey to Diagnosis

At the age of 31, Heather Banks was pregnant with her second child when she had her first abnormal Pap and also tested positive for high-risk HPV. Less than a year later, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and underwent cervical cancer treatment – a radical hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. Heather’s testimony as a young mother was very moving as she described how following treatment, she prematurely entered menopause, more than 20 years earlier than she should have, and while cancer-free today, she still suffers from on-going medical conditions that resulted from her treatment.

On March 12, 2014, in front of an FDA advisory panel of experts, survivor Heather Banks shared her personal experience with cervical cancer, and challenged a group of experts to think about how her life might have been different if cervical cancer were not a part of her history.

What's Important for Me to Share

At the conclusion of the FDA Advisory Panel, the experts voted unanimously that there was sufficient evidence to support that the cobas® HPV Test was both safe and effective, and the benefits of the test outweighed the risks. It is Heather's hope that other women and girls of the next generation may be spared this type of journey, as Heather believes that if she had HPV screening earlier, as a first-line test for cervical cancer, her risk may have been identified sooner, potentially changing the course of her disease and diagnosis.

On April 25, 2014 the FDA approved Roche’s application for the cobas® HPV Test to be used in first-line, primary cervical cancer screening in women 25 years and older.

Once you’ve been tested for HPV, it can be difficult to understand what your test results actually mean. We can help.


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Any time is the right time to discuss HPV screening and cervical cancer prevention