Belfast Telegraph

Sorcha Glenn's bereaved family in plea to David Cameron for earlier cervical screening

By Donna Deeney

The family of Sorcha Glenn — who lost her fight against cervical cancer when she was 23 — have written to the Prime Minister, asking him to back their campaign for a lower age for screening.

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the death of Sorcha, who was two years below the age for screening — yet the procedure could have saved the young woman’s life.

Since her death, Sorcha’s family have campaigned to have the age for cervical cancer screening lowered, and have now written to David Cameron asking him to intervene.

They believe the Prime Minister could help save hundreds of other young women from death or infertility due to cervical cancer.

In their letter to Mr Cameron, the Glenn family provide evidence they have collated themselves about many women who were diagnosed when they were in their early twenties — or even still in their teenage years.

The letter to the Prime Minister argues that since the screening age for women was set at 25 in 2004, the rate of cervical cancer has more than doubled in women aged 25-29.

The family also point out that, since 2007, there has been a three-fold increase in the rate of cervical cancer amongst 25-year-olds and that, in 2011, numbers of cervical cancer registrations peaked. Sorcha’s sister, Orlagh Robson, explained why these statistics are relevant.

She said: “Women do not just get cervical cancer when they are 25.

“The whole point of screening is to detect pre-cancerous cells — but if the screening isn’t offered until the age of 25, this is contributing to the increase.

“If Sorcha had been given the test when she asked for it, she very well may have survived.

“The names, ages and outcome of all the women we sent to David Cameron are real people, not just statistics.

“Some of them are women who, like Sorcha, were diagnosed under the age of 25 when it was too late to save them.

“Others survived but now have to live with the knowledge they will never be able to have their own children.

“We face the anniversary of Sorcha’s death on Saturday and, sadly, too many other families know our pain.

“There are so many nights when I still cry myself to sleep because I miss my sister so much, but our campaign will hopefully help prevent other families in the future from going through our grief.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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