Elliott Lowe is urging other women to get screened.
In January of 2017 Donna Lowe was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer that would claim her life just eight months later. The 32-year-old mom of four had missed her last Pap smear; and by the time the cancer was detected, it had spread to lymph nodes in her pelvic area.
Now, on the anniversary of Donna's diagnosis, her husband Elliott is sharing before-and-after photos of his wife in an effort to spread a life-saving message: "I needed to demonstrated how devastating Cancer is," he wrote in a Facebook post urging women everywhere to never skip a Pap test, no matter how busy they are.
"I’m so proud of how hard my wife fought against this devastating disease despite her knowing the awful truth that it would eventually claim her life," Elliott wrote. He hopes the photo of Donna taken before her death will motivate others to prioritize their screenings so more cancers are caught earlier, when they're still treatable.
"Please share this post with your friends and ask them to do the same," Elliott said. "Don’t let another family go through the pain we go through everyday." So far, the photos have been shared nearly 40,000 times.
"My wonderful wife postponed her last Smear for reasons I can’t even remember," Elliott said. "[B]elieve me I’ve tried to remember and there’s not a day goes by I wish I could swap places with her or wish I’d dragged her to the appointment and re-arranged it for her."
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women age 21 to 65 get screened for cervical cancer with a Pap smear every three years. Women 30 and older can safely go five years between screenings if they combine a Pap smear with an HPV test, according to the task force.