A 19-year-old woman from England has died from cervical cancer after being denied a potentially life-saving smear test early on when her symptoms started because she was too young. Now, the woman’s mother is fighting to get the minimum age of smear tests lowered from 25 to 16.
Sophie Jones had been complaining of severe stomach pains for a while, starting in February 2013, but every time she went to the doctor, she was told that she was too young for a smear test and too young to get cervical cancer. At one point, the young woman was told she had Crohn’s disease and was referred to a gastroenterologist.
“Sophie knew something was wrong,” said her mother Peri. “She knew her body was telling her something. But because of her age, it wasn’t even considered.”
Months of pain and discomfort went by, and each time she went to the doctor, she was told that there was no way she had cervical cancer. According to reports, it’s extremely rare that anybody in their teens is diagnosed with the disease.
Finally, this past November, Jones was seen by a gynecologist, and sadly, she was told that she had cervical cancer and that it had spread all over her stomach. At that point, it was too late. Sophie Jones died this week.
“Sophie was still in high spirits even on the morning she died,” said Sophie’s sister Stephanie. “She was just the life and soul of everything. This should never, ever have happened to her.”
Now, Jones’ mother Peri is fighting to get the British government to allow women as young as 16 to be given smear tests if they request one. While there are certainly some people who disagree with young women being given smear tests, the support that the grieving mother has received is overwhelming. England’s Prime Minister David Cameron has even commented on the case, saying, “Something seems to have gone wrong,” and vowing to help do something about it.