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Vaginal Stenosis from pelvic radiation

After reading so many posts here, I realized how many women are in the same boat as I am. I was diagnosed on June 10, 2016 with anal/rectal cancer; a 5cm tumor cused by HPV 30 years earlier. I knew something was wrong and went to the doctor in January. She was going to send me for a colonoscopy, but when she realized I had just turned 49, she decided to treat for hemmorhoids instead. Five months later I went straight to a gastro but they didn't schedule the colonoscopy for another 5 weeks If only I had it in January, the tumor would have been much smaller. But I went at it full force. I am very fortunate to have good health insurance and was treated at a major cancer center in the northeast. I loved my doctors and my team and everyone who worked there. I just wish my rad/onc had told me about stenosis. He was very concerned about my skin burning, probably because I am so fair. So I was pro-active about it and took the time everyday to prevent burns. I made it to the end of my 8 week treatment with barely a sunburn. My rad/onc was thrilled. What he hadn't told me was that I also needed to prevent vaginal stenosis. I didn't find out about it until I went for my first pap, which came back abnormal. Since then, the stenosis has gotten much worse and I can no longer get a pap. I've tried the dialators, the awful plastic ones I found online and have a prescription for estrogen cream which I'm afraid to use. I have pain around my ovaries and uterus and am afraid to use hormone creams. Anyway, if anyone reading this has had success re-opening their vagina, I would be so thankful if you would share your story. I'm hoping to be 3 years cancer free this year and would be so much less worried if I could resume pap smears. Thank you.

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