Mother Campaigning to Lower Age of Cervical Smear Tests

17.01.2012 image

A mother is petitioning to lower the age to 20 for cervical smear testing in England.  This follows the death of her daughter Mercedes Curnow who died of the disease in December, aged 23.

Mercedes mother, Sandra Cousins, said her daughter first visited her doctor aged 20 displaying ‘classic symptoms’ of the disease.  She said that she was “ignored” by doctors who said she was too young for a smear test.

The age at which women are invited for a smear test in England was increased from 20 to 25 in 2003.  It remains at 20 in the rest of the UK.

Mercedes repeatedly visited her doctor for 12 months but was only diagnosed with cervical cancer after a family member took her in agony to A&E, it was claimed.  She died in December – 20 months after being taken to hospital.

Mrs Cousins said ‘Had Mercedes had a smear test when she started to present symptoms, she would be alive today. Mercedes had all the classic symptoms of cervical cancer like bleeding at irregular times and severe abdominal pain. It’s ageism – as soon as you walk in that room, if you are a young girl, they think it won’t be cancer so don’t bother looking for it.’

The Department of Health said: ‘Cervical cancer and mortality from it are very rare in women under 25. Since the starting age was raised there has been no increase in mortality in women aged 20 to 24 or 25 to 30 years old”.