Topics: Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment
This article is part of Generation Why , a HuffPost Healthy Living series putting the spotlight on young adult cancer patients and survivors between the ages of 15 and 39. For more on the series, click here.
In 1997, fresh out of college, Tamika Felder moved from her hometown in South Carolina to Washington, D.C., to chase a job as a television producer. When she landed her first gig, she didn't care that it didn't come with health insurance. She was just happy to be working. If a health crisis came up, she figured she'd go to a free clinic.
Four years later, Felder's career was on track, and she was happily single and dating. When she secured a job with health insurance in 2001, she scheduled a routine gynecologist visit for a long overdue exam and pap smear. The test turned up cancerous cells on her cervix, and she was diagnosed with advanced-stage cervical cancer. "I never really knew anybody my age who had cancer," she says. "I actually thought the doctor was crazy."