Cervical cancer: Mother calls on Government to lower smear test age from 25 to 16

Marie Evans lost her 22-year-old daughter Jess to the disease

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A mother is urging the Government to lower the smear test age from 25 to 16, following her daughter’s death from cervical cancer at the age of just 22.

Jess Evans, a mother of one, died in February after being refused a smear test nine times in two months.

Her mother, Marie, has said that doctors turned her dying daughter away because they claimed she was too young to have the disease. Instead, they dismissed her complaints of bloating, extreme tiredness and abnormal bleeding as being linked to the recent birth of her son Riley.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Marie said that she believed her daughter would still be alive if she had been sent for a test earlier. 

She said it was “horrendous” when Jess received a terminal prognosis in April last year. “You go into this world of just frozen – you can’t think of anything,” she said.

Marie added that she wanted young women to be more aware about cervical cancer and its symptoms.

Her comments came amid the launch of the #NoFearGoSmear campaign, which has been promoted as part of September’s Gynaecological Awareness Month.

One in four women in the UK do not attend their smear test when invited; the campaign urges women to post images of themselves on social media making a heart shape with her hands, alongside the promise: “I pledge to have #NoFearGoSmear and I nominate [loved one’s name] to do the same.”

Only women over 25 are being targeted, as Department of Health guidelines continue to maintain that the disadvantages of screening women under this age outweigh the benefits, leading to unnecessary anxiety and treatment. However, it is stressed that abnormal bleeding should always be fully investigated by medical experts.

Another e-petition calling for the smear test age to be lowered to 16 has been set up by the mother of Sophie Jones, who died from cervical cancer aged 19. It currently has over 320,000 signatures and has been tabled for discussion in a backbench debate on Thursday 1 May.