Young Mother Dies Following Year-Long Battle With Cervical Cancer

Legal Age For A Smear Test Is 25


A young woman has died from cervical cancer after being told she was too young for a smear test which could have saved her life.

Rachel Sarjantson, 24, battled the disease for a year before she died. The legal age for a smear test is 25, and despite her being called early for the test, it was too late as the aggressive cancer had already taken over her body.

Rachel, who worked as an early years practitioner was so devoted to her 20-month-old son that she even timed her radiotherapy treatment on the morning of his first birthday, so that he could still have a party in the evening.

She was due to marry her fiancé Karl Hyde in March this year but had to cancel her wedding as she was too ill, and she sadly died on 12th August, just hours after doctors told her that her condition was terminal.

Despite Rachel being called for a smear test months before most women are classed as eligible, it was already too late as she had already been diagnosed with the aggressive cancer.

The 24-year-old had a radical hysterectomy last summer and four weeks of radiotherapy, doctors thought she was in the clear b she was told in April this year by doctors that her cancer had returned.  

She was admitted to hospital on 30th June and remained there until she was transferred to Trinity Hospice in Blackpool, Lancashire, on 12th August where she passed away.

Rachel’s family are now campaigning to lower the age limit for cervical screening and prevent other young woman dying as Rachel did.

Her mum Lisa said: "She didn't need to suffer this - it was tragic and completely avoidable. It shouldn't be happening in this country.”

In Scotland, the lower age limit for cervical screening is currently 20 - but is due to rise to 25 next year.

Health experts say younger women often get false positives and the "harms of screening women under the age of 25 are currently thought to outweigh the benefits".

A recent petition to lower the screening age limit to 16 received more than 300,000 signatures.

If you have suffered due to a delayed cervical cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosed cervical cancer, our medical negligence lawyers could help you claim compensation. Call 0808 163 4557 for a free initial consultation or see our Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims page for more details.

Expert Opinion
“Although cervical cancer in young women is rare our specialist medical negligence teams have dealt with a number of cases involving women in their twenties from across the country whose cervical cancer was initially missed by doctors.

“Delays in promptly diagnosing and treating cervical cancer can have devastating consequences and it is vital that doctors focus on the symptoms rather than the age of a woman when deciding whether or not it might be cancer.

“It is essential to seek medical advice if you suffer from any of the ‘red flag’ symptoms such as abdominal pain and bleeding as early as possible so you can access treatment quickly.

“This case is absolutely tragic and it is important to highlight any potential issues and lessons that can be learnt to hopefully prevent other young women from suffering from this condition.”
Rachelle Mahapatra, Partner