At 51 years old I hadn't had a cervical screening for eight years. I was up to date up until my eldest son was born but then for one reason or another it got put off. I was very angry with myself not least because I work as a sexual assault nurse examiner and so smears, which are incredibly personal, really shouldn't have been an issue.
When I experienced abnormal bleeding I thought I was going through the menopause. I bled after intercourse and my body just didn’t feel right, I actually thought I had an irritable uterus.
During the cervical screening, the nurse called for the doctor who said they would get me seen quickly and it was at that point which I started to worry. I was then referred for a biopsy and on receiving the results was told I had cervical cancer.
I immediately underwent a radical hysterectomy which included leaving my lymph glands in as they weren't affected. I also had 18 weeks of chemotherapy and 29 weeks of radiotherapy.
The diagnosis affected everybody but I received tremendous support from both my mum and dad, and my partner.
I still struggle with the effects of treatment and it can be quite emotional. But I have found wonderful support through the Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust Hull support group.
Looking back I can't believe I delayed a screening for so long. Considering the amount of invasive treatment you go through to fight the cancer, when comparing this to a 5 minute test it's crazy that anyone would put it off.