Surviving Cervical Cancer: One Woman’s Story

Cervical Cancer Survivor:  Gladys’ Story

“You have cervical cancer” was not what 62-year old Gladys Brown Jones Turnbough expected to hear from her doctor.  Diagnosed in 2013 during a routine annual physical, Gladys said she was discouraged by a Physician Assistant from receiving a PAP Smear because of her age.  At 62 she was no longer required to have PAP Smears, a test carried out on a sample of cells from the cervix to check for abnormalities that may be indicative of cervical cancer.  Thankfully her persistence in owning her health saved her life. Gladys went on to form a faith-based Arts & Wellness, a non-profit dedicated to education and funding of cervical cancer prevention-awareness campaign to save the lives of other women, especially the underserved in the Denver metro area.

“My purpose and passion have been and is about making certain that women hear about the importance of regular pap smears for intervention and HPV vaccinations for prevention of HPV related cancers, which saves lives,” says, Gladys. Statistics show that underserved women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than other groups.  African American women are more likely to die from this disease even though, the disease is more prevalent among Latino women.  The Arts & Wellness program promotes health equity for Black and Brown communities of Denver Metro area in Colorado.

How Can You Detect Cervical Cancer?

Most women do not have any signs of cervical cancer until advanced stages.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC); “Every year in the US 27,000 people get cancer caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV). That’s 1 person every 20 minutes of everyday all year long is infected with the virus. HPV is a skin-to-skin contact virus.  The Pap smear is the best tool for cervical cancer early detection.  HPV vaccine is the best tool to guard against HPV related cancers by receiving the vaccines from ages 9 to 45.

Arts & Wellness partnered early on with local non-profits like 9Health, who were already making inroads in women’s health by providing financial support.  The fifth annual Arts & Wellness Cervical Cancer/HPV Awareness Campaign Event will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Proceeds will continue to support and provide 9Health free Cervical Cancer screenings and Inner-City Health undeserved women in our communities. Featured at this event is The Lady with the Golden Voice, Sheryl Renee and  Gospel Harmony along with other local artists and dancers.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.artsandwellness.org and Eventbrite.com. 

Thanks in part to the dedicated work of Gladys Brown Jones Turnbough’s Arts & Wellness fundraising efforts, 9Health continues to provide hundreds of women with lifesaving Pap smears and HPV testing.  In 2019, 463 women were served at 9Health Fairs across Colorado.  Abnormal results were indicated in over 6% of screenings and were referred on to additional medical care.  9Health cervical cancer screening participants have consistently experienced abnormal results higher than the national average.  9Health hopes to provide this free service to the women of Colorado for years to come.  We are grateful to Gladys’ Arts & Wellness for making a difference in so many lives.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey. To support their work, go to www.9healthfair.org/sponsors/support/