Northamptonshire woman calls for rethink over cervical screening changes

  • Watch a report by ITV's Lauren Hall

A woman who had to have surgery after abnormal cells were discovered during a smear test says plans to reduce how often the screenings take place is "crazy".

Paige Spittle was just 20 when pre-cancerous cells known as CIN 1 and CIN 2 were picked up in her cervix during a smear test. CIN 2 cells have a moderate chance of becoming cancerous.

Ms Spittle, from Northamptonshire, underwent a procedure which involved removing the abnormal cells using a heated loop. Now 26, she said: "I was quite frightened and scared. I didn't know too much about it until I was quite poorly and I was in and out of hospital."

At the moment cervical screenings are offered to women aged 25 to 49 every three years - but this could soon change. The UK National Screening Committee has recommended a change to the frequency of cervical screening.

It means that anyone with a cervix aged between 25 and 64 would be invited to cervical screening every five years.

The recommendation has already been accepted in Wales and is expected to be implemented in England too.

According to Cancer Research UK, the extension from three to five years between screening has been recommended because the test used in cervical screening has changed.

The new test detects who is at higher risk of developing cervical cancer more accurately than the previous test used in cervical screening, meaning that the current intervals between screening tests can be safely extended for people who are not at high risk.

However the change in frequency of screenings has not been widely accepted.

In Wales a petition against the change has more than 1.2 million signatures.

Meanwhile Ms Spittle is campaigning to lower the age for cervical screening to begin as she believes early detection saved her life.

She said: "Had it not been found and I had waited until you get your smear test offered to you by the NHS then it could have been even worse.

"The tissue could have mutated and grown and the affected area grown."