Doncaster mother-of-two died from cervical cancer after being 'too young' for smear test

  • Video report by Lisa Adlam

The family of a young mother who died from cervical cancer after she was told she was too young for a smear test are calling for changes to guidelines which they believe may have given her a fighting chance of survival.Jody Oxley, a mum of two from Doncaster, died in January at the age of 29. She had been denied a smear test seven years earlier because she was under 25 - even though she had symptoms of the disease.

"Jody was a strong beautiful girl inside and out, a very loving mother," said Linda Brough, Jody's mother.

"There's no words to describe her really, she was an exceptional loving girl, always willing to help anybody.

Jody's family are now calling for the NHS to change its practice of only offering smear tests to people over the age of 25.

It was only through privately paid for tests at Park Hill Hospital that Jody's worst fears were confirmed.

Jody fought her cervical cancer for seven years before she died earlier this year.

"They found stage two cervical cancer," said Linda. "It was already well-established in there, if she'd been able to get there a couple of months earlier, it could have made all the difference."Somebody needs to take notice of what's happening to these girls," she said.

"It's not fair what's happening."

To raise awareness of the issue and fundraise for the Amber's Legacy charity - which supported Jody during treatment and campaigns for smear tests at a younger age - Jody's friend Vicky Hogg will run from Edinburgh to London, covering 36 miles a day while pulling her own supplies.

"I want to do her proud, and do her family proud, and raise as much money as possible," said Vicky.

"It's so important for women to get the smear, don't be embarrassed, don't put it off, just go and get it done it's so important."

Vicky Hogg is raising money for charity Amber's Legacy by running from Edinburgh to London.

Dr Stuart Griffiths from Yorkshire Cancer Research agrees.

"With cervical cancer, if it's not spread, is very easy to treat," he said.

"If we can find it as early as possible, then the vast majority - over 95% - of people will survive, so finding it early is critical."While that message is supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, it says evidence shows screening under the age of 25 does more harm than good and can lead to unnecessary medical procedures.

Jody's family, however, will keep campaigning for change, in the hope that it might make a difference to others.

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