'Get screened': Jana Pittman's warning after scary diagnosis

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Australian athletics legend Jana Pittman is seen here during her track days and in hospital recently.
Australian athletics legend Jana Pittman recently revealed her shock health diagnosis on social media. Pic: Getty/Instagram

Australian Olympic legend Jana Pittman has urged women to get regular health checks after shedding light on her latest shock health diagnosis.

Pittman - a two-time 400m hurdles world champion and four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist - is one of Australia's finest track and field athletes of all time.

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However, the 38-year-old has just opened up about her latest health scare after revealing that she had been diagnosed with a rare form of cervical dysplasia.

"It is not quite cancer, but it's just beforehand when there are dysplastic cells," the mother-of-four told Channel Seven's The Morning Show.

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Pittman had abnormal cells in her cervix removed seven years ago and has been conscientious about getting screenings done ever since.

The 38-year-old - who is now working as a doctor - revealed that she recently underwent surgery after fresh tests picked up her latest condition.

Pittman shared a message on Instagram with details about her diagnosis and a message for other women to take their own screenings seriously.

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"Please please please be safe and get screened," she posted. 

Pittman has been a proud ambassador of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation ever since she suffered a scare six years ago.

'It could literally save your life'

Even though she keeps up to date with her screenings, Pittman revealed warned that her condition "still progressed this time so please please look after yourself."

Cervical screening tests are part of a five-yearly cycle for Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program, compared to the two-yearly Pap smears that used to be common practice.

The tests are used to detect the most common cause of cervical cancer - human papillomavirus (HPV).

Pittman is now working as a doctor after making the switch from her previous life as an elite athlete in 2020.

Pictured here, former two-time 400m hurdles world champion Jana Pittman speaks on The Morning Show.
The former two-time 400m hurdles world champion has urged women to get regular screenings. Pic: Getty/Ch7

She says she wanted to use her latest scare as a message for other women that regular screening is essential, especially considering many have put it off during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was an example for me that we really need to get that message back out there,” Pittman said.

“I think there’s a little bit of stigma around cervical cancer, women aren’t quite prepared to come out and talk about it, but four out of five of us are going to have a positive HPV at some stage.

“Yes it’s uncomfortable, no one wants to have a speculum put into their vagina, let’s be honest, but it could literally save your life."

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

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