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Cervical cancer victim campaigns for earlier testing
A YOUNG Dorchester woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer is campaigning for change.
Loren Oswin, 25, is determined to get the age of cervical screening, known as a smear test, lowered to improve the diagnosis of young women.
Hundreds of people have already signed her petition, but the Alfred Road resident says more action is needed to change government policy.
The death of Jade Goody at 27 in 2009 and a nationwide campaign by the family of Claire Walker Everett, who died aged just 23, led to calls to lower the screening age.
But the government said it would not be lowered, with GPs told to improve their diagnosis of young women by spotting symptoms at an earlier stage.
The starting age for women in Scotland is 20.
Miss Oswin says that younger women are unaware of the dangers and should demand a smear test.
Experts say it provides an opportunity for women to get into the habit of having smear tests and for advice to be given about the risks.
Miss Oswin, who lives with her boyfriend Dan, was given the all-clear this month following numerous appointments and procedures which included a nine-and-a-half-hour operation.
She said: “I started to suffer at around the age of 16 but it was around two years ago I kept passing out and things became worse.
“I was really struggling and it was unbearable painful. I was denied a smear test because they said I was so close to 25 I may as well just wait.”
The brave cancer victim was given a smear test just two weeks before she turned 25 and it was then that she was finally referred to a hospital.
After several examinations, she was finally told in August that she had one of the two types of cervical cancer – endocervical adenocarcinoma.
“I was told only 10 per cent of cervical cancer patients had this kind and that it was harder to spot.”
The future now looks bright for the young woman, who is hopeful of getting back to work at Chipmunks Day Nursery in the next few months.
She added: “If anybody has pain or any symptoms, please demand to have a smear test and please sign the petition if you can.”
She said: “It is hopeful that I will be able to have children.”
The relieved mum and daughter thanked Macmillan and The Steve Charles Help A Friend Fund for their financial support.
• HEALTH chiefs claim screening women under the age of 25 may ‘do more harm than good’.
Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS cancer screening programmes, said: “Screening women under the age of 25 may do more harm than good as it can lead to unnecessary and harmful investigations and treatments.
“Women below the age of 25 often undergo natural and harmless changes in the cervix that screening would identify as cervical abnormalities.
“Despite this, cervical cancer is very rare in this age group. In most cases these abnormalities resolve themselves.”
• MORE than 260 cancer patients in Dorset were given a Macmillan grant to help them with costs relating to their cancer treatment last year.
Loren’s mum Julie Clayton told the Echo about how difficult life became when her daughter was diagnosed.
She said: “My daughter had been signed off from work and was only getting sick pay. Her life had been turned upside down.
“Her operation was at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. We had enough money for the train fare for the operation but nothing else, and the hospital needed to see her for an appointment first.
“A benefits adviser from Dorset CAB visited us and applied for a grant from Macmillan to pay the train fares.”
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