A cancer survivor is demanding the Government to lower the age limit for cervical smears, after being denied a test because she is only 22.
Sophie Evans, 22, was diagnosed with a tumor as a 16-year-old after initially being told she was expecting a baby. But when the pregnancy test came back negative, doctors discovered a 10cm tumor in her stomach, and she had to undergo nine weeks of chemotherapy.
‘Statistics show that around 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year with a sixth of them under the age of 25.’
AdvertisementEvans still has regular hospital check-ups and had recently started feeling lethargic. But despite having symptoms of cervical cancer, doctors at the Moss Green Surgery in Bentilee, refused to give her a smear test, because she is under the age of 25.
Evans said, "It's just upsetting that when I have some of the symptoms of cervical cancer and experience of cancer, I can't have a smear test."
"My GP surgery offered me a swab, but that only picks up infections. A smear test goes right inside and can check for things like cervical cancer. To me, it's clear what I needed. My protein levels were high; I was getting lethargic. These are all warning signs."
"Women who are under the age of 25 should be able to have a smear test if they want it," said Evans.
In 2003, the Advisory Committee on Cervical Cancer advised increasing the minimum screening age from 20 to 25.
A spokesman for Public Health England said screening women under the age of 25 may do more harm than good. This has prompted several high-profile campaigns to try to persuade the government to lower the age for smear tests.
But a Department of Health spokesman said: 'Evidence shows screening women under the age of 25 can do more harm than good, which is why lowering the age is not something that's being considered.'