Leicester campaigner wants lower cancer screening age

image captionMaryanne had two young children when she died in 2010

A Leicestershire family has started a campaign to try to convince the government to lower the age it screens young women for cervical cancer.

Mother-of-two Maryanne Makepeace of Braunstone was 23-years-old when she died of cervical cancer in 2010.

Her aunt Mary Cort believes Maryanne's cancer would have been picked up in time had screening been available to women aged under 25.

In 2004, the government raised the age from 20 to 25.

Cancer 'nightmare'

Mrs Cort said: "She was very brave throughout all of her illness and I never could find myself to talk about the inevitable with her as I was clinging to the miracle, the breakthrough that would stop all of this nightmare.

"She was an inspiration to us all. There just was not enough time for her and her girls."

Mrs Cort has started an online petition to the prime minister asking for the screening age for cervical cancer to be lowered from 25 to 20 years old.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "In May 2009 a review into the cervical screening age by the country's leading experts concluded unanimously that the age should not be lowered.

"The Independent Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening found that screening women under the age of 25 did more harm than good but that more work needs to be done to ensure patients with symptoms are treated correctly.

"Cervical screening currently starts at age 25 years in England - this is the age recommended by leading experts, including the ACCS and the World Health Organisation."

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