A MOTHER-OF-TWO whose cancer was detected after a smear test is supporting a campaign to lower the age of testing to 16.
Val Fay, from Deane, has spoken out after Sophie Jones, aged 19, from Merseyside, died from the disease on March 15 because doctors refused to perform the two-minute procedure.
The Sophie’s Choice e-petition has since been signed by more than 300,000 people — three times the number needed for it to be considered for debate in Parliament.
Ms Fay, aged 50, discovered she had vulva cancer 18 months ago after she had a routine smear test, and within three months she had a life-saving operation to remove the tumour, along with lymph nodes in her groin.
Ms Fay, who is now in remission, also lost her mother, Audrey, to lung cancer when she was aged 38, and her two sisters also lost battles with cancer.
Ms Fay said: “I think it is ridiculous that girls have to wait until they are 25. These days many are sexually active at a younger age, which is not going to change, so surely they should bring the age down to correspond with this?
“It annoys me when you see these middle-aged men on TV arguing against bringing the age limit down. What do they know about female sexual health?
“I am so glad that I have sons and not daughters. It would worry me sick if I did. My heart goes out to Sophie Jones’ parents.
“I had vulva cancer, which was detected when I had a smear test, so it’s not just about catching cervical cancer. The symptoms are so similar to that of thrush that I would never have known it was cancer if I hadn’t had that test.
“When the doctor said, ‘You have cancer’, it was a massive blow, and what made it harder was the fact that my mum and two sisters have died from the disease. Mum was only 38 which proves that cancer does not always have an age limit.”