Sophie Jones, Teenager Dies From Cervical Cancer After Being Told She Was Too Young For A Smear Test (PICTURES)


A teenager who aspired to be a model has died from cervical cancer after being denied a smear test because she was too young, her family claim.

Sophie Jones, 19, was diagnosed in November and died on Saturday.

Doctors had put down the crippling stomach pains she had suffered for over a year to Crohn’s disease.

Sophie Jones died on Saturday

Sophie's family say she had pleaded for a smear test but was refused one because of her age – women under 25 may not request them.

They claim her life might have been saved had she been given one and have set up an online petition in her memory calling for the age one can have a smear test lowered to 16.

The petition, named Sophie's Choice, was set up by family friend Pamela Keelan who claims "our Sophie has been failed in the worst way". At time of press it had received nearly quarter of a million signatures.

She wrote: "A friend and amazing young girl our Sophie has had her life cut short after experiencing symptoms for over a year and being in horrendous pain and even asking for a smear. But because of her age, 19, she was refused time and time again. Out of loads of doctors it took that one to say on we will check you properly but then it was too late."

The 19-year-old was an aspiring model

"This should never, ever have happened to her."

A Department of Health spokesman told HuffPost UK via email: "This is a very tragic case. The issue has been debated in Parliament, but the best independent evidence still shows that routine screening of women under 25 does more harm than good.

“Instead we now vaccinate girls with the HPV vaccine which protects against 70 per cent of cervical cancers.

“Women with symptoms of cervical cancer, like unusual bleeding, are advised to see a doctor straight away for tests to investigate their symptoms.

“We have given doctors advice on what to do when younger people come to them with cervical cancer symptoms.”

  • Cervical screening is not a diagnostic test for cancer; it is designed to identify abnormal cells that may one day lead to cancer. 1 in 14 women over 25 yrs, and 1 in 3 under the age of 25, have ‘abnormal’ smears.
  • The cervical screening age in Northern Ireland is 25-64, in Wales it is 20-64 and in Scotland it is 20-60.
  • To determine if there is indeed an abnormality, women will then have to have further tests which might involve a large biopsy of the cervix potentially leading to cervical incompetence.
  • Cancer Research UK’s most recent statistics say no girl under the age of 20 died from cervical cancer between 2009 and 2011, making Sophie one of the youngest ever victims of the disease.

    Professor Julietta Patnick, Director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes said: "This is a very sad case, however, cervical cancer in women under the age of 25 is very rare, and it's even rarer for a teenager to develop this form of cancer.

    Average number of deaths per year from cervical cancer and age specific mortality rates for the UK 2009-11

    “Younger women often undergo natural and harmless changes in the cervix that screening would identify as cervical abnormalities, and in most cases these abnormalities resolve themselves without any need for treatment.

    “Evidence has shown that screening women under the age of 25 may do more harm than good as it can lead to unnecessary and harmful investigations and treatments which could have an adverse effect on their future childbearing. In women under 25, therefore, this risk outweighs any benefit.”

    Liz Lange

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