Mum dying of cervical cancer was ‘denied smear test despite bleeding after sex’
A heartbroken mum says her life could have been saved if she been given a smear test on demand.
Maxine Smith, 31, was diagnosed with incurable cervical cancer in November last year and says she wasn't given a smear test – despite the fact she had told doctors she bled after sex.
The mum-of-two children is now calling for smear tests to be given on demand rather than every three years as she pledges to use the time she has left with her children to make memories with them.
Maxine, from Cheadle, Greater Manchester, claims she visited doctors in 2016 to complain of bleeding but was told she wasn't able to have a smear test.
She was told she could not have the test because she had one two years previously and her symptoms were due to "contraception problems", the mum said.
Maxine added: "I believe I wouldn't be facing the horrors in my life now if I'd have been given a smear test on demand.
"I don't think I would have needed all the hard treatment of chemotherapy and then have to be battling it again to lose my life a few years down the line.
"It's left my family feeling heartbroken and helpless, my mother keeps saying it should be her and not me.
"My family are not ready for me to go, they feel cursed.
"The worst feeling is looking at my beautiful children and realising that I'm going to be stolen away from them.
"My children are quite young but I've tried to explain to them what's happened. I've said there's a flower that's opening up inside of me and it's getting bigger and bigger.
"I've told them I have to go to hospital to get this magical treatment that makes the flower close.
"They know I'm poorly but that's all I've told them. I want to protect them as much as I possibly can.
"Not a day goes by that my heart doesn't break when I think they won't have me around one day and I won't see their lives unfold."
Maxine, a hairdresser, was finally diagnosed with cervical cancer in January 2018 after moving from her home in Congelton, Cheshire, to Cheadle.
She underwent gruelling chemotherapy and had a hysterectomy in order to halt the cancer and was told that it had gone.
Maxine claims that she had a smear test at the age of 26 and was due to have another at the age of 29.
But at the age of 27 she began to experience bleeding after sex and went to her doctor in Congleton.
She claims that despite asking for a smear test she was not provided with one because she was due one the following year.
Maxine said: "I knew something was wrong.
"I'd kept on getting bleeding and went to the doctor around five times.
"I was screened for STIs and was told there was nothing wrong with my cervix even though they didn't do a test. I'm not a promiscuous person so it was all very embarrassing.
"I went so many times but kept on getting told it was my pill that was making me bleed."
Maxine was eventually diagnosed with grade three cervical cancer after moving to Cheadle where she was given a smear test on demand and a subsequent biopsy which found a 3cm tumour on her cervix.
Maxine had to endure the pain of having a hysterectomy and chemotherapy to remove the cancer aged just 29.
Devastatingly, in November 2019, Maxine received the news that her cancer had returned and that it had spread to her lymph nodes and bowel.
Maxine is currently receiving chemotherapy to shrink the cancer in an effort to give her some extra time with her precious children, George, 6, and Mia, 5.
She said: "I won't be able to see my children grow up to be adults. The doctor's have said I've got about three years at most.
"I'm going to fight this with everything I've got. I don't care how much pain and suffering I have to go through as long as it gives me the chance to stay with the kids for just a bit longer.
"The NHS have been fantastic, they've gone above and beyond and I'm just so grateful to them.
"I'm hoping to just spend time with my children and enjoy the little things in life with the time I have left."
Maxine's family are currently raising money for her on GoFundMe to pay for the cost of taking her and her children to Disneyland.
Professor Anne Mackie, Director of Programmes, UK National Screening Committee, said: "The UK National Screening Committee does not recommend cervical screening to those under 25 years of age as thankfully cervical cancer in young women in their teens and early 20s is very rare.
"So the benefits of screening these younger women, most of who have already been vaccinated against the two most important types of HPV that causes cervical cancer, are small.
"Harmless and common changes in the cervix are very common in young women and in most cases resolve themselves without any need for treatment. If we were to screen women under 25 these changes could lead to unnecessary and harmful tests and treatments.
"Almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV vaccination is very effective against the infection and as the uptake of the vaccine has been very good since 2008, there is less reason to lower the age of cervical screening.
"The vaccine has led to a dramatic reduction in HPV infection in young women in England and we anticipate a fall in the numbers diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 24-25 in 2019."
You can donate to her appeal here .
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