Cervical cancer newlywed died after ‘smear test refused due to her age’

He said: “We still thought she could fight but even more chemotherapy
couldn’t get rid of it.

“She was still trying to be positive and still thinking she was going to
be ok.”

Mrs Ryder, from Patchway, Bristol, first went to her doctor at the end of 2010
with unexplained bleeding.

Despite requesting a smear test, she was refused because she was under 25.

Government legislation was changed in 2003 to mean regular smear tests are
only given to women aged 25 and over.

Previously all women over 20 were given the tests and they still are in Wales.

She was eventually diagnosed with erosion of the cervix and was given
treatment which briefly stopped the bleeding.

But when it returned she went back to see her doctor again.

“Becky wanted a smear test done and requested it but because she was
under 25 at the time they said it would just get returned and they would not
do it,” Mr Ryder said.

“She was treated for cervical erosion and then it was just left.

“The bleeding did stop. But it came back again and that is when they
looked into it a bit further. She saw a different doctor then and they
raised a few more concerns.”

Doctors confirmed she had cervical cancer following a biopsy in March 2011.

She was immediately given radiotherapy and chemotherapy and an internal
brachytherapy treatment – a more targeted form of radiotherapy.

The couple also went through fertility treatment, where her eggs were frozen,
so that they could still try for a family when treatment was over.

She was given the all-clear in September 2011 after scans showed there was no
sign of the cancer.

“It was quite a shock, but a good shock,” said Mr Ryder, a golf
professional and teacher.

“Becky didn’t seem to believe it she had a feeling something more was

“It was her body and she was sensitive to it. She was very relieved and
happy but there was a little niggle.”

Only months later, in January, her legs started to swell up and, after
returning to the doctors, scans showed that the cancer had returned.

Her husband added: “That’s when they said ‘sorry, it’s terminal’.

“We still thought she could fight but even more chemotherapy couldn’t get
rid of it. She was still trying to be positive and still thinking she was
going to be ok.”

The couple, who would have been together for ten years in June, and were due
to celebrate their third wedding anniversary this year, tried to remain

But she was admitted to St Peter’s Hospice, in Brentry, Bristol, just before
Christmas for blood transfusions. She died on February 14 last year.

When her husband went to return her mobile phone, which she had bought shortly
before her death, he realised the issue was widespread.

He met someone in the shop who disclosed her friend’s daughter had also
recently died of cervical cancer.

“She had also tried to convince doctors to do something about it and had
set up her own charity,” he said.

The Mercedes Curnow Foundation For the Early Detection of Cervical Cancer
campaigns for a reduction in the age of woman who are called for screening
from 25 to 20.

They also fund private smear tests and HPV vaccines for women.

The Cornwall-based charity set up billboards in several cities around the
country advising its campaign and the signs of cervical cancer.

“She wanted other people to know,” Mr Ryder said.

“It is vitally important that people know what to look out for and what
to ask.”

Mr Ryder is now taking up her campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer
so that other young women do not die of the disease.

Her colleagues at Mitie Group, a client services business in Emersons Green,
Bristol, have been fundraising in her memory and have raised thousands of

“Any money would go straight to St Peter’s Hospice, The Mercedes Curnow
Foundation and Penny Brohn. We are not interested in gaining,” he added.

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