Cervical cancer survivor urges women to get their smear tests | News

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Cervical cancer survivor urges women to get their smear tests

Lucy Dodds cervical cancer patient

“I know it is uncomfortable and can be embarrassing, but it is five minutes of discomfort versus potentially dying – what would you choose?”

Cervical cancer survivor and Royal Surrey patient, Lucy Dodds, urges women not to ignore vital smear test invites, as she shares her cervical cancer story to mark Cervical Screening Awareness Week.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, yet in England two people lose their lives from it every day. Regular screening can detect early changes in the cervix that lead to cancer. Cervical Screening Awareness Week takes place this week (20-26 June) to raise awareness of cervical screening.

Mother-of-two Lucy, 49, was diagnosed with cervical cancer four years ago after a routine smear test picked up abnormal cells. She said: “After my smear test had found abnormal cells I was sent to St Peter’s Hospital for a colposcopy and a biopsy. Within a week I received a call from a Macmillan Nurse with a cancer diagnosis. I knew cancer was a risk and had prepared myself, but I still felt like my world had fallen apart. The nurse was extremely reassuring and explained that the cancer was in the very early stages. I felt like I was in good hands.

“The day after my diagnosis was my birthday and my parents were coming to visit me. The worst part of my whole cancer journey was seeing their faces crumble when I told them I had cancer.”

Within a week of her diagnosis, Lucy had undergone a PET scan, an MRI and had an appointment with a consultant to plan the next steps. Her care was transferred to Dr Simon Butler-Emmanuel at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust who performed a keyhole operation called a radical hysterectomy, where the ovaries, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and nearby tissue are removed.

“Dr Simon Butler-Emmanuel and the team were fantastic. They were so reassuring every time I met them. I feel very strongly that I owe my life to them.”

Lucy has been given the all-clear so far, but still goes back to hospital for an annual check-up. She urges women to go for their routine smear tests: “Please get your smear test done. You often don’t get symptoms of cervical cancer until it’s advanced and that’s why it’s really important that you get regularly tested.

“I know it is uncomfortable and can be embarrassing, but it is five minutes of discomfort versus potentially dying – what would you choose?”

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