Health

U.K. Mom Diagnosed With Cervical Cancer After Being Denied Smear Test Three Times

| by Mackenzie Fleming

A young mother in the U.K. has been left unable to have any more children after being denied health tests she repeatedly asked for.

Siobhan Galbraith, an Erdington, Birmingham, mother to a 3-year-old son, is now receiving treatment for cervical cancer after the 21-year-old was repeatedly told she was too young for a smear test.

Galbraith suffered from the pain of cervical cancer for six months before she was diagnosed, Birmingham Mail reports. Although Galbraith is said to have asked doctors for a smear test three times, she was denied the test due to her age.

Galbraith is now undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat the cancer. Both treatments are likely to leave her unable to have children. Her family says they believe this could have been prevented by using other treatments if the cancer had been caught earlier.

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An investigation by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is now underway after Galbraith’s case was raised in the House of Commons by MP Jack Dromey.

The U.K. mother’s pain began in 2014 after she had a coil fitted, according to Birmingham Mail. A coil is a form of contraception, also commonly referred to as a IUD (intrauterine device). 

When the symptoms continued to persist even after the coil had been removed, she asked doctors to refer her to a specialist for a smear test. She was refused each time by doctors who reportedly told her tests are not usually offered to women younger than 25.

Only after she demanded to see a gynecologist was the cause of Galbraith's pain discovered and her condition diagnosed.

"As soon as she went to the gynecologist, they knew immediately that it was cervical cancer,” Galbraith’s mother, Vicki Brennan, said.

Dromey spoke in the House of Commons regarding Galbraith’s situation and asked, “Will the Prime Minister act to ensure that in future we have early referral, so that never again do we get people denied treatment that can be the difference between life and death?”

Similarly, Becky Ryder, a newlywed from Bristol, England, was fatally denied her requests for a smear test in 2013. Ryder was 24 years old when she asked to have the test to check for cervical cancer, according to The Telegraph. Her doctor refused because she was under the age limit of 25 for screening in England. Ryder was eventually diagnosed with the disease and died at age 26.

The Prime Minister told the Commons he would like an investigation of the issue.

“I quite understand why he raises this individual case,” Cameron said. “It is absolutely right that early referral is the key to improving cancer outcomes.”

Source: Birmingham Mail, The Telegraph

Photo Credit: Birmingham Mail