1. ITV Report

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