Woman Joins Legal Team At Irwin Mitchell In Raising Awareness Of Symptoms
A young woman is supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week after being diagnosed with the disease aged 24.
Hannah Baker has spoken for the first time about her experience in a bid to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease and the support available.
Hannah, of Farnham, Surrey, was diagnosed in March 2016. Since the previous June she had attended a number of appointments and undergone surgical procedures at Frimley Park Hospital for abdominal pain and bleeding – symptoms she had experienced for more than a year.
She had not undergone a smear test because she was under 25 – the age when automatically registered on the NHS’ cervical cancer screening programme.
Hannah, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate if more could have been done to diagnose her cancer sooner.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust carried out an internal investigation. It recommended that any woman, regardless of age, should have a biopsy before undergoing treatment to ease symptoms of bleeding and pain.
Expert Opinion“The last couple of years have been have been incredibly difficult for Hannah as she attempted to come to terms with her diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
“While we are pleased that the Trust has made its own recommendations following an internal enquiry into Hannah’s care, she still has a number of questions and has asked us to help her obtain answers for her.
“Hannah has shown great bravery in speaking about her experience and we join her in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
“It is important to remember that cervical cancer is a treatable disease with a good long term prognosis when it is diagnosed early. Therefore women need to attend regular smear appointments and be aware of the symptoms, and if needed, seek medical advice at the earliest possible opportunity.” Chloe Morgan - Solicitor
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting those diagnosed with cervical cancer
Hannah was referred to Frimley Park Hospital for an ultrasound which was carried out in July 2015. That August she visited the hospital’s A&E department with heavy bleeding as well as lower back and lower abdominal pain.
On 2 November, 2015, Hannah underwent a procedure designed to alleviate her bleeding and pain. Over the coming months Hannah continued to experience symptoms.
She attended A&E at Frimley Park on 25 February, 2016, following further examinations Hannah a biopsy was taken at the end of March which confirmed she had cervical cancer.
Hannah underwent chemotherapy that June. She has been in remission since November 2016.
She said: “I was totally lost for words when I was told that I had cancer. Many people may think that women under 25 cannot get cervical cancer, and although it is rare, I am proof that they can.
“The last couple of years have been a real struggle, not only because of the physical effects of chemotherapy but also the emotional side. Nothing can prepare for being told you have cancer, so coming to terms with that has been really difficult. The support from my friends and family really helped me through some difficult times.
“I am still concerned about what the care I received but I just hope that by speaking out people are aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer and realise that early detection is key to beating the disease.
“It is so important that people seek medical advice if they feel that they have some of the symptoms.”
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is organised by charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and runs from 21-27 January. For more information visit www.jostrust.org.uk