From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

February 28, 2022

In 2013, April Becraft of Georgetown, Ohio, was a 32-year-old mother of a toddler and a baby and was teaching special education at an elementary school when she began to feel tired all the time. She attributed the fatigue to having a new baby, but when she lost a lot of weight, she saw her doctor. April was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and felt better after treatment. The next time she found herself in a doctor’s office was in June 2013 for her annual gynecological exam. An abnormal Pap smear would change her life.

A Pap smear (or Pap test) is a way of screening for cervical cancer. April’s Pap smear detected high-grade abnormal cells on the inside of her cervix. Her gynecologist scheduled a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) to further examine the abnormal cells. “I had regular Pap tests and never had abnormal results,” said April. “When they called to say I needed to discuss the LEEP results with my gynecologist as soon as possible, I knew it was bad news.” April was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and referred to OHC gynecologic oncologist, Marcia C. Bowling, MD.

On July 22, 2013, Dr. Bowling, who was considered one of the world’s most experienced gynecologic oncologists in the use of robot-assisted surgery at the time of its introduction, used robot-assisted surgery to remove April’s cancer. “I performed a radical hysterectomy but was able to preserve her ovaries as they were not affected,” said Dr. Bowling. “She was a young patient and I wanted her to avoid premature menopause.”

“I was extremely scared before surgery, not knowing how extensive my disease was, and I knew I was facing radiation therapy if Dr. Bowling couldn’t remove all of my cancer surgically,” said April. “Dr. Bowling helped to put me at ease while I was prepped on the surgical table. She called all of the nurses and staff over to me and she held my hand as I received anesthesia.”

“Clinical excellence and surgical expertise are imperative in the field of gynecologic oncology,” said Dr. Bowling. “It’s also very important to be mindful of the emotional stress cancer patients face and to help them cope in order to promote healing.”

April’s pathology revealed that her surgical procedure removed the cancer and that it had not spread to her lymph nodes. She was cancer-free.

April recovered at home and returned to work at the end of September that year. “I had a great support system, and my husband was a big help,” said April. “I had a two-year-old and a 14-month-old at the time and I wasn’t allowed to pick them up. My parents, friends, and church community rallied around me.”

April, who says she no longer sweats the small stuff, will continue to have annual exams with Dr. Bowling, whom she calls her lifeline. “I want to remind all women to keep up with their annual exams,” said April. “In June, it will be 10 years since I first came to OHC,” said April. “OHC is the reason I’m alive to raise my kids.”

With vaccination and regular screenings, cervical cancer is a highly preventable disease. For more information on OHC’s gynecologic oncology team and cervical cancer screening guidelines, or to request a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.

Top picture: OHC patient April Becraft: My lifeline gave me more time with my family.

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