Cervical cancer survivor calls for screening age to be lowered

A woman from Milton Keynes is calling for the age of cervical screening tests to be lowered.

Emily-Rae was 25 when she found out she had cervical cancer. She was diagnosed after a visit to the GP for the flu prompted a smear test.

She was sent to the hospital for a scan and biopsy where doctors discovered a tumour. Eight days later it had doubled in size and surgeons had to perform an emergency hysterectomy.

Emily-Rae said: "I was angry a little bit because they said you are going to lose your womb, and I always wanted to be a mum. Yes I wanted babies, but I am also somebody's baby, and that is important. I am already here and it is important that I stay here."

Emily-Rae was 25 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer Credit: ITV Anglia

Emily-Rae believes having the smear test when she was 25 saved her life, but, says lowering the age for cervical screening tests to 16 could make a huge difference.

“If I had this test earlier maybe they would have picked up abnormal cells. I would like eligibility to run from 16, for example, if it runs in your family or if you are at high risk. I honestly feel 25 is too old."

Last week Emily braved the shave - not only to raise money for charity but to raise awareness too. She is urging women not to put off going for a smear test.

Public Health says around 2,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England each year, and around 700 women die from the disease.

Emily-Rae shaved her hair to raise awareness of the disease Credit: ITV Anglia

"This is the age that evidence shows is the most effective. If you screen women younger there is a risk of overtreatment as this could pick up abnormal cells, which evidence shows the majority of them will go back to normal without the need for treatment."

Kate Sanger Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust