Mum-to-be ‘too young’ for smear test despite having abnormal cells on cervixFebruary 24, 2019
A mum-to-be has been told she’s ‘too young’ for a smear test – despite having abnormal cells on her cervix .
Demi Ablett, who is expecting her first baby in July, was diagnosed with CIN 2 which means there’s a moderate chance the cells on the gateway to her womb will become cancerous.
But despite this she cannot have a cervical screening and is now speaking out about how important they are, reports Plymouth Live .
The 23-year-old, from Newquay, initially went to her doctor with fatigue and heavy bleeding after an abortion in 2013 aged 17, but claims she was misdiagnosed as having an abnormal period.
Demi explained: “At first I was misdiagnosed. They said that it was abnormal period and thought it would be sorted with contraception.
“After 18 months, I found out I had CIN 2 and have been struggling with it since.”
CIN 2 is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and treatment to remove them is usually recommended.
Demi was diagnosed aged 19 and she has not been able to have a smear test since.
She said: “I saw a gynaecologist, who immediately booked me in for an operation to remove pre-cancerous cells.
“I’ve been going back and forth from the hospital, having procedures.
“In the last four years I’ve been on three tablets a day for two years, biopsies nearly every month, three procedures on my cervix where they removed the pre-cancerous and cancerous cells.”
The minimum age to get a cervical screening in the UK is currently 25, and is justified by the fact that cervical cancer is very rare below that age and that it is common to have abnormalities which usually go away by themselves.
Due to the different operations that Demi has had over the years, she was told that there was a high chance that she could not have a child.
She explained: “For the last two years I have massively struggled due to the fact I was advised I may not be able to conceive and that if the speed and continuous spreading carried on a hysterectomy would be on the cards.
“I am now nearly 20 weeks pregnant but in those 20 weeks I’ve had a trip to Treliske every two weeks to check my cervix length, midwife appointments nearly every two weeks, consultation appointments and prenatal appointments.
“It’s going well but I have to go to the hospital every week. The operations were to remove parts of the cervix and that’s what made it difficult. My cervix is too short. I could have had a premature baby, a miscarriage, etc.”
She said that she wants to share her story to make sure young women or teenagers do not experience what she has gone through.
“I’m 23, still not the legal age for a smear but yet have suffered massively and my family have as well seeing me go through this,” she said.
“I need to try and tell my story because more woman need to realise a smear isn’t the scary bit – it’s what can happen after.
“The minimum age should be lowered or if girls go to the doctor and ask, they should be offered the test.
“Both of my younger sisters have been to the doctor’s as soon as they were 18 due to all the complications that I’ve had.
“You just have to push and push. When you’re a teenager you know your body. If it doesn’t seem right, you have to ask to be tested.”
Demi is a tattoo model and she says she uses her photo shoots for magazines to raise awareness as much as she can and do campaigns.
She said: “Smear tests should be offered earlier and it’s about getting more girls to do it.
“I raise awareness any way I can. We’ve got to help each other when it comes to smear test and cervical cancer.
“Hospital staff is amazing, everyone is so, so good and they are mostly women so they understand what you’re going through. I’ve found that taking my mother and my grandmother helps.”
In 2009, ministers rejected calls for the screening age for cervical cancer to be lowered, arguing that doing so would cause false positive results and would lead to people receiving unnecessary – and potentially harmful – treatment.
According to the NHS, the symptoms of cervical cancer are unusual vaginal bleeding during or after sex, between your periods or after the menopause, pain during sex, unusual vaginal discharge and pain in the lower back or pelvis.
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and there are effective vaccines that can protect people from contracting HPV.
The vaccines, however, cannot treat existing infections.
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