Mum, 24, wants smear test age to be lowered

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A mum-of-three has criticised the smear test process, after she was ‘too young’ to be tested.

Tina Hawkins, 24, of Eastbourne, went to her doctor last month, after months of illness and symptoms.

He decided she needed to have a smear test for ‘clinical reasons’, however, the lab refused to test the swab. Tina said she received a letter saying they could not test it as ‘you still fall under the age for cervical screening’ – which is 25.

“The age needs to be changed especially if the tests are being done for clinical reasons and I have three children age five and under,” she said.

Now, her doctor has referred her to a gynaecologist at the Eastbourne DGH to look into things further, but there is an 11 week waiting list, and she hasn’t yet got a fixed appointment.

Public Health England told the Herald if a patient has symptoms they should be referred straight to a gynaecologist instead of going through the process of a smear test.

However, Tina said if her smear test had been processed, and it came back clear, it may have stopped her cervical cancer fears. Instead she has to wait for 11 weeks or more just to see a specialist.

“It is just the not knowing,” she said. “It should be sorted out now.”

Tina has turned to the local charity and campaign The Dawn Effect, which was set up by the husband of Dawn Weston, who died of cervical cancer in May.

Dawn was 26 when she died, and The Dawn Effect is campaigning for the smear test age to be lowered, to include 19 to 24-year-olds, after Dawn’s case was caught too late.

After discovering the campaign’s Facebook site, Tina said she isn’t the only young woman who has been refused a smear test, and she thinks the age should be lowered.

“This is obviously a serious thing affecting people’s lives and poor doctors have to deal with a lab turning down smears sent in from a qualified doctor because of an age without reading or looking into the person’s background,” she said.