KELLY Bridgett had her hysterectomy a year ago tomorrow – a brave choice she made after being diagnosed with cervical cancer following a routine smear test.
Now, the 26-year-old is able to sit back and enjoy being with her family but admits she still panics about getting her medical test results – worrying ‘what if it happens again?’
Miss Bridgett, of Dunedin Crescent, Winshill, spoke out as part of Cervical Screening Awareness Week next week which coincides with the first anniversary of her hysterectomy.
“I still have MRI checks and general check-ups to check if my ovaries have developed any tumours, but everything has been all-clear.”
Following her hysterectomy, Kelly launched her Drop Your Pants campaign – urging women to go for smear tests and resulted in Burton MP Andrew Griffiths mentioning her fight in parliament in a bid to lower the smear test age from 25 to 20-years-old.
She said: “The campaign has been quite quiet but I am still working with Andrew Griffiths (on getting health professionals) to test if there is a hereditary link with cervical cancer. My great grandmother and my aunty had cervical cancer, and both my mother and my sister have been tested to have abnormal cells.
“With the Drop Your Pants campaign, Andrew Griffiths mentioned it in parliament, but I didn’t expect we would get anywhere with dropping the smear test age but people came to me thanking me for trying.”
Kelly received her routine smear test letter after turning 25, and said: “I was quite nervous about it but I thought I might as well get it over and done with.
“It was routine, lasted a few minutes and I didn’t think about it but a few days later I received a letter from the hospital asking me to go in the following day.”
Doctors had found severe abnormal cells. Biopsy tests were sent off and five weeks later she received the news she had been dreading.
Luckily it had been discovered relatively early but meant she had had no symptoms.
“If I hadn’t gone for my smear I would be non the wiser now,.
“I had two choices – to have part of my cervix taken away or have a hysterectomy. I already have two children. I think the hysterectomy was the easier way to get it over and done with.”
Kelly believes women ignore their smear test letters because of the stigma attached, but said: “It is painless and quick. I would say to people just go and get it over with - drop your pants to save your life.”
Despite the fact, the mother-of-two has beaten cancer, she remains concerned.
“When I go for my MRI results and check-ups, I always panic, because I never expected the cancer diagnosis before so I always think what if it happens again?”
However, thanks to her first smear test she says it has enabled her to enjoy her family.
Kelly’s Facebook group is available by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/KellysMission/
WOMEN are being encouraged to get checked in the run up to Cervical Screening Awareness Week.
Figures reveal that more than 20 per cent of UK women still fail to attend cervical screening when invited.
The Eve Appeal is encouraging more women to attend after doctors have seen a downward trend in the number of women being screened over the last 10 years.
Cervical screening can prevent cervical cancer and is estimated to save up to 5,000 lives each year and yet attendance is still falling.
Each year in the UK more than 3,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and more than half of these are in women under the age of 50. Although very rare in women under 25, it is the second most common cancer in women under 35.
The best way of reducing the risk is regular screening from the age of 25.