When then 34-year-old New Westminster resident Kristen Hovet started to experience discomfort in her pelvic region, she was quick to visit her doctor to determine any underlying causes. After a series of tests, including a pap smear and tissue sampling through BC Cancer, Kristen was given the devastating diagnosis of cervical cancer that would require a radical hysterectomy.
In the days following surgery, Kristen suffered sepsis along with the news that her surgical margins weren’t clear enough — meaning the cancer could have spread. Faced with a new treatment direction that would see chemotherapy and radiation, Kristen remembers the feeling of her life being “knocked off course in virtually every way”.
Kristen with her partner and son during a trip to Paris.
“I’m incredibly thankful that I could experience having a child before cancer made it impossible to have more children.”
“I was in complete shock during this time,” remembers Kristen. “I had just started a new job that I had to forgo, while pausing my ambitions for grad school.” Tragically, it was also at this time that Kristen and her partner would learn that their dreams of starting a family of their own would no longer be possible.
Now, six years since her successful treatment journey, Kristen is passionate about sharing her experience with others, including the importance of mental health and prevention for patients who may face a similar situation.
“Cancer created major upheaval in my life and in the lives of my family members, with outcomes that I’m still, six years later, working hard to fix,” says Kristen. “Many of the changes to my body and mind will be with me for the rest of my life, which is why I am passionate about advocating for a more holistic approach to treatment that puts equal emphasis on the mental and physical aspects.”
In honour of Kristen and others like her, the BC Cancer Foundation is committed to changing more outcomes for breast and gynecological cancer patients. With the support of our donors, we will continue to fuel research and innovative treatments to save more lives.
Learn more about how you can help make a difference for patients like Kristen: www.bccancerfoundation.com/womenscancers