A LARWOOD woman who had a hysterectomy when she was just 23 is campaigning for the cervical screening age of 25 to be lowered.
Kimberley Priestley, 24, of Larwood Avenue, had to make the devastating decision after doctors diagnosed her with cervical cancer in April this year.
The mum of one said she only found out by chance after being offered a smear test during a routine check up with the nurse.
Currently doctors only normally offer smear tests to woman aged 25 and over, which Kimberley said “needs to change”.
“The age needs to be lowered now. If the nurse had never offered me a test, I would probably still be in the dark about it,” she said.
“People need to know about this - if it can save just one person’s life then it’s worth it.”
Kimberley wasn’t too concerned when her initial result came back as abnormal but grew increasingly worried as she was called back for further tests.
“I knew something was wrong when the doctor called me at 3.30pm one afternoon and asked me to come in for 4pm,” she said.
“They told me the tumour was very small but advised me to have a hysterectomy. They could’ve just removed the cervix but there was a strong chance the cancer would come back.”
Kimberley had her operation on 19th May and said she has recovered physically but said the emotional effects run much deeper.
“I’m only just coming to terms with the fact I will never be able to have any more children. I am very lucky to have my two-year-old daughter Maisie, though. She really is a blessing,” she said.
Kimberley said she is backing the campaign of TV doctor Chris Steele who has been lobbying the Government since it upped the routine testing age to 25 in 2003.
She said: “It’s shocking in itself women under 25 are not routinely tested, but it’s even more shocking that hundreds of screening tests have gone ignored nationally.”
“I heard the story of a mum of a three-year-old boy who died from cervical cancer when she was just 23. It really broke my heart.”
She added: “I would urge young women to persist with their doctor if they want a test - it really could help save their life.”
Bassetlaw PCT medical director Dr Philip Foster said: ““NHS Bassetlaw follows the national guidance for Cervical Screening in which females are screened at the age of 25.”
“ We do however stress that if patients are experiencing symptoms of Cervical Cancer that they consult own GP practice.”
For more info on Dr Steele’s campaign visit www.too-young-to-die.co.uk