SPE­CIAL RE­PORT: Rais­ing aware­ness and sav­ing lives – that’s the Test that saved young mum’s life

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your -

EM­ME­LINE Collin had no rea­son to think any­thing was wrong when she went for a rou­tine smear test.

But – de­spite hav­ing no symp­toms at all – the Peter­bor­ough mum-of-one was di­ag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer, which may have killed her had it not been picked up on the test.

Now, just over a year later, the 33-year-old has had surgery to re­move the can­cer, which was caught early enough for her to have an ex­cel­lent chance of a com­plete re­cov­ery.

Em­me­line is a prime ex­am­ple of why cer­vi­cal screen­ing can be a life-saver, a fact which is at the core of Cer­vi­cal Screen­ing Aware­ness Week, which starts on Mon­day.

Em­me­line said: “There was no way I knew there was any­thing wrong – I just went for a rou­tine smear as if I was go­ing to buy a pint of milk.

“I had no symp­toms and no wor­ries. If I’d ig­nored the screen­ing let­ter and thought I didn’t need to go be­cause there was noth­ing wrong with me, then good­ness knows what would have hap­pened.

“I had an in­va­sive can­cer grow­ing in­side me that I knew noth­ing about.

“If I hadn’t gone, worst case sce­nario is that I might not be here, or I could have left it so late that I might have had to have much worse treat­ment.”

Cur­rently, 20 per cent of UK women do not at­tend cer­vi­cal screen­ing ap­point­ments, putting them­selves at risk of be­com­ing one of the 2,828 women in the coun­try who de­velop cer­vi­cal can­cer ev­ery year. Around 1,000 die from the dis­ease.

Jo’s Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Trust, the char­ity be­hind the aware­ness week, wants to get the mes­sage across to all women that cer­vi­cal can­cer is largely pre­ventable. It is es­ti­mated screen­ing saves 4,500 lives a year.

If it is not caught early, treat­ment may be ag­gres­sive, such as hys­terec­tomy or ra­dio­ther­apy.

But if caught early, pa­tients like Em­me­line can avoid such trauma. She had a tra­ch­elec­tomy, a rel­a­tively new treat­ment which is not yet widely avail­able, which pre­serves a woman’s fer­til­ity.

The surgery, which can be per- formed on some women who have very early in­va­sive cer­vi­cal can­cer, in­volves re­mov­ing the cervix and the lymph glands in the pelvic area, but leav­ing the womb in place.

Em­me­line said: “I’ve been left with the op­por­tu­nity of hav­ing an­other child, which I would have lost if I didn’t go for the screen­ing.”

Cer­vi­cal can­cer and the im­por­tance of screen­ing was brought to the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion in March last year, when Big Brother star Jade Goody died from the dis­ease. The 27-year-old mother-oftwo had ab­nor­mal cells re­moved from her cervix on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, but did not have a fol­low

TRAGEDY: Jade Goody, whose death last tear led to a boost in women hav­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.