What Dr. Luke has to Say About Cancer of the Cervix

Chun Lin was 45 years old.  Chun Lin and a friend were discussing cervical cancer. The reason is they both just had a friend, who had just died of cervical cancer.  This friend of theirs was about 48 years old. The friend had developed some vaginal bleeding and went to see a doctor in the local hospital.  There she had an examination of her cervix.  During that examination they did a biopsy of the cervix and then sent it to the hospital laboratory.  When the results came back they showed she had cervical cancer.

Chun Lin’s friend underwent surgery where many of her female organs were removed and then she had chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  However, because her disease was so very advanced there was little that could be done to help here.  She died about 18 months after the cancer was diagnosed.

Both of them wondered if they had cervical cancer and about cervical cancer in China.  They did not know a lot about cervical cancer.  They went to a doctor friend of theirs who was also a gynecologist and asked her about cervical cancer.  The doctor told them that cervical cancer was not very common in China but was rising due to the increased amounts of sexually transmitted diseases.  They asked if there were symptoms, which could have been picked up, earlier and the doctor told them really no.

This is the important thing about cervical cancer.  It is a ‘silent killer.’  Cervical cancer has few symptoms until it is more advanced.  If that is the case then what should one do to pick it up earlier.  The doctor told Chun Lin and her friend that there is a test called the ‘Pap smear.’ This test is used many places in the world but not used so much in China.  This test can be done yearly on women from the ages of about 20-65.  This test can pick up cervical cancer very early before it is very advanced and then can be treated early.  How is this done they wanted to know?

The doctor explained to Chun Lin and her friend that the patient goes to the doctor and the doctor then samples a small piece of her cervix.  This test does not hurt at all.  Plus it is not a blood test.  The small piece of the cervix is then sent to the lab and analyzed.  This part is very important, as the doctor testing the cells in the lab must have a good knowledge of how to analyze cancer cells from the cervix.  A doctor without good training can miss cancer of the cervix, which is in the early stages. 

Chun Lin and her friend also wanted to know why woman in China do not do more Pap smears.  The doctor told her that there are two primary reasons.  First, is that up front cost of screening tests like Pap smears are a lot for China.  But in the future as China’s economy develops then more woman may want to pay for these tests which up to now they might not want to pay for.  Second, is the fact that till now cervical cancer rates in China have been low and many women would not think it a good use of money to screen for cervical cancer in this manner. 

However, as Chun Lin and her friend also learned, early cancer screening with the Pap smear saved a lot of money in the long run.  Their friend, which had died from cervical cancer,  had to spend a lot of her money on doctor bills, hospital bills and expensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  Further, Chun Lin and her friends also learned how much their friend suffered from the cervical cancer before she died. 

Chun Lin and her friend also wanted to know how come sexually transmitted diseases could cause more problems.  The doctor told them that the sexually transmitted diseases could cause a chronically inflamed area on the cervix, which over time can become cancer.  Thus with the rise in sexually transmitted diseases in China the incidence of cervical cancer will rise.

The suffering her friend went through with the cervical cancer and the increased incidence in sexually transmitted diseases and with it the increased amounts of cervical cancer bothered Chun Lin a lot.  She wondered if there was an answer to this.  What did life mean with so much suffering for an individual?  She knew her friend had suffered a lot.  Even though Chinese did not talk of or think much about life after death, her friend’s death caused Chun Lin to think about this more.  She had been such a close friend.

Chun Lin recalled that a friend of hers had told her several years ago about Jesus Christ.  She also recalled she had given her a book about him and she thought she still had that book.  She looked through some boxes and found the book which was called ‘The Bible.’  In the front of the book her friend had written some books and verses to look at.

She looked at these verses.  The first one was, ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23).’  She recalled that her friend, a believer in Jesus Christ, had told her that sin was our going against God, against what his plans for us were.  Chun Lin did believe she did wrong, but just went on not thinking much about it.  The second sentence was, ‘For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6.23).’  The verse was clear that the result of sin is dying.  This is just what happened to her friend.  Plus from the former verse she came to see that all people have done wrong.  She certainly agreed with this as she knew of no one who had not done at least one thing wrong and many people have a life full of wickedness.  It was the second part of this verse that really got Chun Lin’s attention.  That is the part about ‘the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’  What a promise.

Eternal life, not eternal nothingness or eternal death, this was something to really think about.  Plus it was something she did not have to earn.  It was a gift.  Then she read the next verse listed, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works so that no man can boast (Ephesians 2.8,9).’

This verse explained even more.  It said that we are saved through faith, faith in Jesus Christ.  But Chun Lin was unclear as to what she would believe in.  Why should she believe in Jesus Christ to save her.  She had many questions but she thought the Bible would give her more answers so she continued to read the Bible everyday. 

Chun Lin and her friend wanted though to know more about cervical cancer and the treatment of cervical cancer.  The doctor of theirs told them that cervical cancer was certainly best treated by prevention.  Prevention like the Pap smear.  In fact there really was not any other type of prevention test besides the Pap smear.  But this was so important.  If the cervical cancer can be picked up early from the Pap smear then it can be cured.   Also, most women after 65 years of age do not have cervical cancer.  It just does not exist after the age of 65 years of age.

Advanced cervical cancer is not so easily treated.  A woman having the cervix removed with the uterus best treats it.  Then most women have either chemotherapy or radiation therapy.  Some have both.  Certainly all of these three treatments, i.e. surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy have a lot of side effects and discomfort. Chun Lin had seen all of these in her friend who had died from cervical cancer.

Chun Lin’s friend was weak from the surgery for several weeks and then immediately started on chemotherapy.  This left her nauseated and very weak and she lost most of the hair from her head.  The radiation therapy also left her weak and nauseated and because the radiation was towards her cervix it also affected her bowels and left her with some nausea.

Then towards the end of her life her friend had a lot of pain from the cancer, which was hard to control.  Why did she have to suffer so much?  Chun Lin had read a lot from the Bible and read this verse, which gave her a lot of comfort.  ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God this is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8.28-39).’

This was a very powerful promise not only for Chun Lin but also for anyone.  All God’s purposes, even if at the time we think they are bad serve God’s purposes of good.  Plus, God gave us his only Son to save us from our sins before God.  We know that our sins separate us from God and that Jesus Christ causes us to have a bridge so that we can cross over to God and have eternal life.  Then the part that no trouble or hardship can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ.  Chun Lin really wanted to have this type of love, which would not only comfort her now but also allow her to have eternal life with God.

She wondered how she could have this type of love.  She knew that the Chinese friend who gave her the Bible lived in a distant Chinese city, but she did not know if she could contact her. All she had was an address.  She wrote this friend and gave her telephone number and address.  A week later this friend called her and talked with her on the phone about Jesus Christ and answered many questions.  She told her of another verse in the Bible, ‘Therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5.1).’  Chun Lin wanted this peace.  She asked her friend how she could have this peace.  Her friend told her that she must accept Jesus as her personal Savior and Lord.  But how was she to do this?

Her friend told her of another verse in the Bible, which explained how to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord.  It stated, ‘That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10.9,10).’

Chun Lin’s friend explained that to be saved from our sins and have eternal life we must confess with our mouth the Jesus is Lord.  That is that he is the Lord of the universe and also that he died for our sins on the Cross-so we would not have to bear these sins.  We must also believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. This resurrection from the dead shows that God has power over the death which sin causes.  If we believe these two things then we will be saved.

Chun Lin wanted to have this salvation and the peace and love, which went with it.  Her friend prayed with her this prayer. ‘Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I have done wrong and that I have sinned against you.  I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and that he later rose from the dead and lives even now.  I ask that Jesus Christ come into my life and save me from my sins.’  After praying this prayer with her friend Chun Lin was filled a peace of heart and mind, which she had never had before.   She now had eternal life and a full life now with Jesus Christ.