The Undefeatable Jessi Zazu

Over the past 40 years, the number of deaths per year from cervical cancer has declined by 50 percent. According to the American Cancer Society, the decrease in mortality is due in large part to the higher frequency of pap smears, which started in the ’70s. Pap smears generally enable gynecologists to detect pre-cancerous cells outside of the cervix. But Jessi’s cancer was unusual: It started on the inside of her cervix, which meant it was more difficult to detect. It also meant that by the time cancer breached her cervix and spread to her vaginal wall, it was too large to remove with a hysterectomy.

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