#TeamSorcha in plea to British PM over cervical screening age

Sorcha Glenn.
Sorcha Glenn.
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Family and friends of Sorcha Glenn, the young Derry woman who lost her battle with cervical cancer one year ago, have written to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in their continuing bid to have the age of cervical smear testing lowered.

Sorcha Glenn was just 23 when she succumbed to her illness - after initially being refused a cervical smear test because she was under 25 - the current government age for cervical screening.

Since her death, her family and friends - under the banner of #TeamSorcha have tirelessly campaigned for the cervical screening age to be lowered.

They earlier garnered thousands of signatures in on online petition to ensure the issue will be discussed in Parliament.

And in their latest move, they have written to Mr Cameron, and the leaders of all the UK legislative assemblies.

In the letter they have detailed the cases of 34 women who were aged 25 or under when they were diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The harrowing list reveals what treatment the women endured - and the outcomes - including those, like Sorcha, who have died.

Other women have suffered gruelling side effects of their illness and treatment including infertility, early menopause, ongoing pain and loss of normal bladder and bowel function.

In the letter, #TeamSorcha have written: “Health officials need to consider the impact that a cervical cancer diagnosis has on young women and their families.

“Women commonly suffer appalling side effects from surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy during and after cancer treatment.

“Loss of fertility is agonising for many. The psychological impact is considerable and women frequently experience fear, anxiety and depression as a result of being diagnosed with cancer.

“Sadly, women also die, needlessly in many cases.”

Of the 34 case studies #TeamSorcha provide in the open letter, the youngest woman to be diagnosed with cervical cancer is just 17. The teenager in question has been left infertile by her treatment, which has included a radical hysterectomy, five rounds of chemo, 30 radiotherapy sessions and three brachytherapy sessions.

Team Sorcha end the letter stating: “We are appealing to the governments of the UK to reconsider cervical screening policy which allows this suffering and grief.”

As Sorcha’s anniversary dawns on Saturday, family and friends will be taking part in a charity skydive in her memory.

Read the inspirational interview Sorcha Glenn gave to the Journal just two months before her death.