30-year-old June Melanie Pelomo from the remote region of Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands diagnosed with Uterine (Womb) Cancer has shared a heart-breaking picture and story as part of her awareness that she hopes will help save lives in the country.
Here is her full story shared by SOLOMON WOMEN.
“My name is June Melanie Pelomo and I’m 30 years old. My parents are both of Choiseul origins. My father is from Bangara Village in the North West Constituency and my late mother is from Sasamungga, South Choiseul Constituency of Choiseul Province.
“I would like to share my story with you, especially my good people of the Solomon Islands and the Pacific as a whole of how a young woman like me battling the deadliest female cancer specifically Uterine (Womb) Cancer. On the 24th of February 2023, I was diagnosed with Uterine (Womb) Cancer at the age of 30. Being of young age, with a partner and no child, it’s very difficult to accept this result.
“I believe this is a taboo topic in the culture of our islands especially when it comes to talking about the female reproductive system. However, I would like to put this aside and focus on advocating for our beautiful females in the Solomon Islands and around the Pacific.
“In the early months of 2022, I started experiencing one of the symptoms of Uterine (Womb) Cancer. During that time, I worked in one of the Meat Companies in Australia called Teys Australia Beenleigh in Queensland. The symptoms of a Uterine (Womb) are as follows:
1. A lump or swelling between your tummy or hip bones (pelvis)
2. Pain between your lower back or hip bones (pelvis)
3. Pain during sex
4. Blood in your pee
5. Abnormal bleeding
“The most common symptom of this Uterine (Womb) Cancer is Abnormal bleeding from the vagina, although most people with abnormal bleeding do not have cancer. However, this symptom should not be ignored. Note that a pap smear test does not screen for Uterine (Womb) Cancer. It is when I experienced constant lower back and hip bone pain that I went to see my GP and had all the other tests done.
“I had an initial surgery (as shown in the pic) to remove fibroids and other endometriosis growths presented in my CT scan and Transvaginal scan done. I also did a pap smear test and took other swab tests. However, during my initial surgery, my surgeon saw that my uterine walls are thicker than normal, which could have been caused by many things, such as endometriosis (a condition where the tissue of the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body), hyperplasia (a sign of abnormal or precancerous cell changes), or gynaecologic cancer such as uterine cancer. Unfortunately, my case is Uterine (Womb) Cancer. I didn’t like hearing the ’C’ word…who does?
“After seeing the thicker uterine walls, the next step he does is a procedure where he scraped and collect tissue from inside the uterus and sent it to the lab for testing. I was very positive that my doctor would only find non-cancerous cells. I NEVER imagined him calling to me, “your biopsy came back cancerous”.
“The news punched me in the gut. But with words of encouragement from family and friends, my mind grew stronger each day to fight this deadliest female cancer. I’m currently waiting on the pathology report to confirm what stage I’m in and the report should be available today. They also referred me to a cancer specialist and he will take over from there.
“It has been very challenging for me and my family. The only thing that keeps me going is the family and friends’ support system and their prayers as well as mine. I experience sleepless nights and even sometimes I can’t sleep during the day. The ugliness of Uterine (Womb) Cancer is very draining that it not only affects me physically but mostly mentally and emotionally.
“I wanted to raise awareness of this deadliest disease because most of our females in the Solomon Islands and the Pacific lack the knowledge of it, the symptoms, and ways to go about it (tests and service providers).
“It is time that we make such topic at homes, communities, churches, schools, rural areas, and the country as a whole alive. Please fathers, husbands, brothers, male partners, and boyfriends, listen to your daughters, wives, sisters, female partners, and girlfriends and support them if they are going through such female changes in their bodies or experiencing these symptoms. Take note of the symptoms!
“Females, remember this is not something to be ashamed of. Seek medical attention if you experience such changes in your body. It is better to detect it at an early stage so treatment can be done to save you.
“I hope my story will help save a life!
“Please share to save a life. Together we can beat this deadliest disease by raising awareness! God Bless!”