Smear tests should be offered at 16 says mother of victim

18/03/14

Sophie Jones

The mother of a teenager who died from cervical cancer is campaigning for the screening age to be lowered to 16.

19 year-old Sophie Jones from the Wirral died at the weekend from the disease.

She hadn't been tested for cervical cancer because doctors thought she was too young.

Sophie's mum Peri Cawley has spoken to Newsbeat about a campaign the family is now launching - to get better access to screening for women Sophie's age.

Sophie Jones

Peri describes Sophie as a "bubbly, livewire that was the glue of our family."

A year ago Sophie was like any other 19-year-old, she loved going out and wanted to be a model. Peri said that Sophie began having symptoms similar to those seen in cervical cancer at the beginning of last year.

'Crohn's disease'

"Sophie first went to the doctor in February last year, she has severe stomach pains and she had vaginal bleeding," Peri said.

The doctors believed Sophie had Crohn's disease.

That was not the case and by November 2013 Sophie was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It had already spread to other parts of her body and she died early on Saturday (15 March).

Had [Sophie] have been given the option to choose to go for these tests then she might haven been able to be treated.
Peri Cawley
Sophie's mother

Sophie's family and friends have now set up an online petition to get better access to screening for women Sophie's age, so far it's received just under 150,000 signatories.

"We want to make it so its so big so people really do listen," said Peri. "[The petition] is not saying that at 16 everybody universally should be called in for a smear. We're saying if you go to a GP and you present symptoms similar to cervical cancer then you should be able to be screened rather than it just be dismissed because you're a certain age."

Sophie Jones

The NHS routinely screen women over 25 in England and in Scotland it's women over the age of 20. But after Sophie's case they say they would urge any women under the age of 25 who have concerns to speak to their GP.

Peri admits that there are no guarantees that Sophie would have survived if she did have the tests but added: "Had [Sophie] have been given the option to choose to go for these tests then she might haven been able to be treated."

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