UK & World News

  • 16 August 2014, 18:28

Cervical Cancer Victim 'Too Young' To Test

A 26-year-old woman who died from cervical cancer after being told she was too young for a smear test is inspiring a campaign to lower the age for cancer checks.

Dawn Weston's devastated husband has told Sky News his then fiance complained of severe back pain in 2013 which she initially put down to standing on her feet all day as a hairdresser.

It was only after she came home in tears one afternoon that Dan insisted she see her GP, who said she was too young for a cervical cancer test as she was under 25.

Mr Weston said: "She was a hairdresser, so she spent a lot of time standing on her feet all day which a lot of the time contributes to back problems.

"But it is commonly known that doctors will not take the smear because the labs don't bother to do the test if women are under 25."

It took weeks of repeated visits to her doctor before Dawn was finally tested and told she had terminal cancer.

The couple were desperate to marry before it was too late and planned their dream wedding in five weeks, marrying three days before she began chemotherapy treatment.

"Dawn wanted to get married before she started chemotherapy and to feel herself; just to walk down the aisle, really," said Mr Weston.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under the age of 35. In the UK, 2,900 women a year are diagnosed - that is eight women a day.

Dan's mother Marie said women under 25 should be should be allowed the test and also should have the option of being vaccinated.

"There are an awful lot of people that are diagnosed with this type of cancer who are under 25," she said.

"I think they should just be given a chance. People who are younger, around 19, they have the option of having the injection so they are probably relatively safe.

"But we have still got this age group of women between 19 and 25 that are too old for an injection and too young for a smear test. Where does that leave them?"

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "This is a very tragic case. The issue has been debated in Parliament, but the best independent evidence still shows that routine screening of women under 25 does more harm than good.

"Instead we now vaccinate girls with the HPV vaccine which protects against 70% of cervical cancers.

"Women with symptoms of cervical cancer, like unusual bleeding, are advised to see a doctor straight away for tests to investigate their symptoms. We have given doctors' advice on what to do when younger people come to them with cervical cancer symptoms and we expect them to follow it."

Donors can give money to Dawn's campaign for St Wilfred's Hospice, where she spent her final moments last week,through her Just Giving page.

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