Mother urges others to have screening following ‘body shame’ concerns
PUBLISHED: 17:22 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 22 January 2018
Hundreds of young women every year could be putting their lives at risk by avoiding routine smear tests because they are embarrassed of their bodies.
It comes following a survey of 2,017 British women aged 25-35, carried out by charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
More than a third said embarrassment was the main reason for not attending a cervical screening. Concerns over “smelling normally” topped the survey at 38pc, followed by body shape (35pc), and the appearance of their pubic area (34pc).
Others also admitted they would not go if they had not waxed or shaved their bikini line (31pc).
Following these results, 38-year-old Becky Marsh, from Beccles, has urged all women to “just go” after she was diagnosed four years ago following a routine smear.
The mother-of-one had always had normal results until 2014, where abnormal cells were detected and further tests showed she had early-stage cancer.
“I had no symptoms whatsoever before that test and without it wouldn’t have known I had cancer until a later stage, when it would have been much more serious and difficult to treat,” she said.
“They caught it early. Early enough that I had no chemo, no hysterectomy, and no radiotherapy. I have not lost the ability to have more children if I choose to. All because I went when I should have, and did not put it off.
“It’s free and takes just a few minutes. But it can save your life.
Miss Marsh added that although she may have felt “slightly nervous” when she went for her first screening at the age of 21 - before the age was increased to 25 - getting herself checked was more important.
In the healthcare overhaul plan for the region, known as the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, health chiefs have promised to focus on screening for cervical cancer, alongside bowel and lung cancer.
For support and information for anyone affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities, ring the national helpline on 0808 802 8000.