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Success! Maria from Guatemala raised $418 to fund gynecological surgery.

  • $418 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Maria's treatment was fully funded on December 19, 2019.

Photo of Maria post-operation

October 23, 2018

Maria underwent gynecological surgery.

Maria’s cone biopsy came back negative for cervical cancer and so she does not need any additional treatment. She feels healthy and without any pain after the procedure was completed. Without the additional stress, Maria can continue to spend time and take care of her grandchildren.

She says, “I am very thankful for all of the support and happy that there were no complications with the procedure. Thank you.”

Maria's cone biopsy came back negative for cervical cancer and so she does not need any additional treatment. She feels healthy and without ...

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March 27, 2018

Maria is a mother from Guatemala. She lives with her family in Guatemala’s rural western highlands. She works at home maintaining the household, doing tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of her grandchildren.

Recently, Maria received an abnormal colposcopy result showing cell changes in her cervix that could indicate cancer. Now, she needs to undergo a procedure to further test and remove those cells. Cervical cancer, while uncommon due to screening in most developed countries, remains a top killer of women in Guatemala.

Our medical partner’s doctors want Maria to receive a cone biopsy, a procedure that will remove a cone-shaped section of tissue from her cervix. This test will reveal if she has cervical cancer and may remove all cancerous tissue, meaning that Maria would need no additional follow-up. If additional treatment is necessary, the cone biopsy will help Maria’s medical team tailor her treatment and give her the best care possible.

This exam is expensive and requires Maria to travel to the capital city. Our medical partner, Wuqu’ Kawoq, is requesting $418 to fund the procedure, scheduled for April 16.

Maria says, “I am grateful to you all for helping me undergo these procedures. If it were not for this organization I would not know what illness I have.”

Maria is a mother from Guatemala. She lives with her family in Guatemala's rural western highlands. She works at home maintaining the househ...

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Maria's Timeline

  • March 27, 2018

    Maria was submitted by Hannah Shryer, Complex Care Coordinator/Research Intern at Wuqu’ Kawoq.

  • March 28, 2018

    Maria's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • April 16, 2018

    Maria received treatment at INCAN in Guatemala. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • October 23, 2018

    Maria's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • December 19, 2019

    Maria's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 1 donor

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Funded by 1 donor

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Cone Biopsy
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $418 for Maria's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Most patients are asymptomatic, but occasional patients may have bleeding and pain in the pelvic region. Wuqu’ Kawoq runs a large center for screening for cervical cancer with pap smear tests. When a pap smear is positive, or when a woman comes into clinic with an obvious lesion on her cervix, she needs additional follow-up in the form of colposcopy and/or a cone biopsy. Often this can be done through a colposcopy, a straightforward procedure in which a specialist examines the cervix and sometimes takes a tissue sample to test for cell abnormalities and cancer. When the abnormal cells cannot be sufficiently examined through a colposcopy, a cone biopsy is performed. In it, a cone-shaped area of tissue is removed from the cervix and tested for abnormalities. The cone biopsy is often curative for small cancerous or precancerous lesions of the cervix. Occasionally, if the biopsy shows abnormality, the patient does need to be referred on for more advanced treatment. Often, however, the cone biopsy is both diagnostic and curative.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

These are cases picked up in our medical partner's screening program for cervical cancer, so most of the women don’t have any symptoms at all. This is exactly how a screening program is supposed to work, picking up cases that need treatment when treatment is still easy and curative. If left untreated, many of these women would go on over a period of months to years to develop life threatening invasive cervical cancer.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Thanks to broad access to screening and treatment, cervical cancer is very rare in the US and other developed countries. In Guatemala, however, it is the most common cause of cancer-related death among women of reproductive age. This is because of poverty and poor infrastructure.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

After an abnormal pap smear or colposcopy, or when cervical cancer in suspected, a patient is referred to a specialist who performs the cone biopsy. In this procedure, the specialist removes a cone-shaped section of tissue from the patient's cervix. This sample is sent for pathology testing. If testing indicates all abnormal cells have been removed, no additional follow-up is required. In these cases, the procedure is curative, and women can return to their regular lives with regular medical follow-up. Usually the entire process can be completed in about two weeks. If abnormal cells are found in the edges of the sample, an additional cone biopsy may be performed to remove those cells, or, if necessary, a hysterectomy may be recommended. If the pathology testing reveals cancer deep in the cervical tissue, additional treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery may be recommended.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

This treatment saves lives. Without access to this procedure, many of these women would eventually develop severe, invasive cervical cancer and die of the disease after much financial drain paying for ineffective and costly treatments. Cervical cancer attacks early in life, frequently robbing women of decades of life and leaving their families alone.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is very treatable. At this stage, lesions can be removed easily at relatively little cost, and lives can be saved. Risks are rare but include: serious bleeding requiring further treatment, difficulty reading future cone biopsies due to cervical scarring, increased risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery, and potential narrowing of the cervix which can cause infertility.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

There are several public and private clinics in Guatemala that offer this treatment. However, indigenous women, especially those who don’t speak Spanish, are often frightened of the strange procedure and the environments in which it is offered and as a result often do not follow through with testing. Our medical partner provides these women with the case management, counseling, translation services, and financial support they need to complete the procedure and participate in their own care.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Most women with a positive pap result are scared and not sure where to turn. Instead of seeking help, they often go home and don’t seek care until many years later when the cancer has progressed and is no longer treatable.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Yin is a 62-year-old woman who lives with her husband, daughter, son in-law, and granddaughter in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. She is a homemaker, and she loves cooking and cleaning around her house. In her free time, Yin loves to play with her granddaughter. Her husband is retried, and her son in-law is unemployed. Yin’s family receives 800 baht (approx. 27 USD) on a cash card every month to purchase rations. This income is just enough for their daily needs, but they cannot afford to pay other costs like healthcare. Currently, Yin has limited vision and can only make out if it is dark or light outside with her right eye. The vision in Yin’s left eye is starting to blur, and she cannot see far with her left eye. She is worried that she will lose vision in both of her eyes. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund lens replacement surgery for Yin. On June 8th, doctors will perform a lens replacement, during which they will remove Yin's natural lenses and replace them with an intraocular lens implant in each eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $1,500 procedure. Yin shared, "Before my vision started to blur, I used to make and sell mohinga [a type of Burmese noodles]. With the money that I earned from selling mohinga, I was able to buy vegetables for my family. However, when the vision in my right eye vision became blurred, I could no longer make mohinga anymore. I hope that my vision will be restored after I complete my treatment.”

84% funded

$240to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.