Leeds mother calls for lower cancer screening age

Image caption,
Ms Hill has gathered thousands of signatures on her petition

A mother from Leeds who was diagnosed with cervical cancer whilst pregnant is campaigning for women to be screened for the disease at a younger age.

Debra Hill was 29 weeks pregnant with her sixth child when she found out she had cancer.

She is now calling for women under 25 to be screened and is handing a petition in to Downing Street.

The 36-year-old said: "The lowest point was thinking I wasn't going to be around for my kids."

Currently, women aged 25-49 are invited for cervical screening every three years, dropping to every five years between the ages of 50 and 64.

Ms Hill was diagnosed with the disease in 2004 and went on to be successfully treated.

"It was really distressing, knowing that I was pregnant as well and it wasn't just myself I was trying to save, it was another life."

She added: "I believe everything happens for a reason and I believe that the pregnancy was there for her to save my life and I want to reverse that role to make sure she's protected in the future as well."

As part of her campaign, Ms Hill has forged a friendship with Jackiey Budden, mother of the late Jade Goody, who has helped collect signatures for the petition.

"It's important to me because I've got five girls and I want the future where they can have screening at the age of 20 if they need to.

"It's something that's not going to go away. We're not going to go away. We're going to keep fighting it and fighting it until something is done."

More on this story

Around the BBC