Cervical cancer survivor from Harborough urges women not to put off smear tests
A cervical cancer survivor from Market Harborough is urging women not to put off their smear tests.
Amid the joy of her wedding day in September, Karen Thorpe-Marsh was recovering from treatment to cure her cervical cancer.
She said that, throughout her special day, she felt ‘knackered’ - with the relief of the all-clear not arriving until several months later.
Now, she's urging everyone across the region who is offered a smear test to take the opportunity, since it could save their life.
Karen said: “People think ‘it’s just a smear, I’ll put it off. I’ll be fine’. But we should all be aware of what can go wrong if you don’t go.
“Nobody wants cancer. It's free and it takes five minutes, so just get on that couch and get it done.”
Cervical cancer is one of few that can be detected at a stage where it is not yet cancer, even without any symptoms.
Screening saves around 5,000 lives each year, but as many as four-in-ten women in Leicestershire do not attend their cervical smear appointments.
Karen’s diagnosis was followed by courses of radiotherapy and brachytherapy, which she found extremely tough.
The Harborough mum said: “I couldn’t wait to see the nurse on the last day, to have that last blast of therapy. It was a huge relief.
“I wouldn’t want anybody else to go through what I have been through, especially not when it can be caught and treated early. I had a smear test delayed by the pandemic, but that’s no longer the case, so please, don’t put it off.”
The smear test detects abnormal cells, which may indicate pre-cancer, and human papilloma virus - which causes about 95 per cent of all cervical cancers.
Karen’s diagnosis prompted her own daughter to book an appointment.
Karen added: “My daughter called her GP surgery after I was diagnosed and got herself sorted, which was brilliant. And my friends have been and come back with the all-clear, which is always a relief.
“People should be more aware of what is going on with their body. We don’t tend to talk about our health, so let’s do that more.”