Screen­ing saves mother’s life twice

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

A MOTHER from Skye is urg­ing women in the High­land to take part in a cer­vi­cal screen­ing pro­gramme.

Jo-Anne Ford, 46, from Portree, says reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Scot­tish Cer­vi­cal Screen­ing Pro­gramme may have pre­vented her de­vel­op­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer twice, and po­ten­tially saved her life.

Ms Ford used Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Preven­tion Week (Jan­uary 22-Jan­uary 28) to raise aware­ness of the pro­gramme, which in­vites all women aged from 25 to 64 to reg­u­larly at­tend cer­vi­cal screen­ing.

‘I have par­tic­i­pated in cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing since my early twen­ties and I’m in no doubt as to how im­por­tant it is,’ ex­plained Ms Ford.

‘It was thanks to reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pa­tion in screen­ing that pre- can­cer­ous cells were dis­cov­ered in my cervix when I was 34.

‘The test aims to pick-up changes in your cervix so they can be mon­i­tored or treated. I was lucky that changes were spot­ted at an early stage, al­low­ing them to be treated be­fore they de­vel­oped fur­ther.

‘Af­ter my treat­ment, I con­tin­ued to have the smear test.

‘Un­for­tu­nately I had ab­nor­mal cell changes a sec­ond time five years later, by which time I had moved to Skye. It was dur­ing this time I dis­cov­ered the fa­bled High­land hos­pi­tal­ity was gen­uine, as the nurses and staff at the hos­pi­tal were fab­u­lous with me.’

NHS High­land said Across Scot­land, ap­prox­i­mately 300 women are di­ag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer each year, and it is the most com­mon can­cer among women aged 34 and un­der.

Jo-Anne added: ‘It’s be­cause of this that I want to tell my story and high­light the im­por­tance of cer­vi­cal screen­ing.

‘I ap­pre­ci­ate that it is a del­i­cate sub­ject, how­ever I would en­cour­age women to put em­bar­rass­ment to one side and take part in cer­vi­cal screen­ing. I’m liv­ing proof of how im­por­tant it can be.’

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