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Amanda is from Middlesbrough and her family have kindly agreed to share her story with us...

Amanda's story

Amanda Booth was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Amanda was scared of going for her smear test and so put off going when she got her first letter and her reminders.

Amanda went to see her GP when she experienced heavy bleeding and after being referred for further tests, was given the devastating news she had cervical cancer.

Amanda underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy but unfortunately lost her battle to the disease and just died just 10 months after she was first diagnosed.  She lost 8 stone in weight during her illness.

Amanda was just 28 when she died on Good Friday and leaves 3 children - 11 year old Demi-Lee, 8 year old Leon and 5 year old Lucas.

Her husband David said:

"It's been a horrible situation - especially seeing the person you love deteriorate in such a way."

In her last few months, Amanda wanted to encourage more women to attend regular screening tests and the family are campaigning to raise awareness of the issue, including supporting our local Screening Saves Lives campaign.

The family are taking part in a sponsored bike ride in August to raise money for Ward 14 at James Cook University Hospital who cared for Amanda during her treatment.

Speaking to the Evening Gazette at the time of her diagnosis, Amanda said:

"I would say to all women go and get your smear tests done. I wish I did. I did have an appointment but I cancelled it.  I was scared about the procedure but looking back, what I'm going through now is obviously far worse."

Amanda and David renewed their wedding vows earlier this year as part of a bucket list of things Amanda wanted to do before she died.

 

Gemma is from Middlesbrough and has kindly agreed to share her story with us...

Gemma's story

Image of Gemma from Middlesbrough

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer two weeks after my 25th birthday.

I received my cervical screening invitation a couple of weeks before my birthday and immediately rang my doctor to arrange an appointment. I thought it would be absolutely fine as I'd had no symptoms and was only young anyway so everything would be ok! A week later and I received the news that I had severe dyskaryosis and so an appointment had been made for me at my local colposcopy clinic.

During this appointment I had LLETZ treatment which removed a large part of my cervix. The colposcopist and nurse were both amazing and really helped me get through it. Exactly one week later the colposcopist rang to let me know the results. They had found extensive CIN3 and within that, two areas both under 1mm had unfortunately progressed into cancerous cells.

After that I couldn't really take in what she said. I remember her saying that I would have to go back in around six weeks to have more LLETZ treatment to make sure the margins were clear. I was extremely lucky that both the CIN3 and the cancerous cells hadn't spread and that the colposcopist and consultant had managed to remove it all. This meant no further treatment was needed and I could then have six monthly check ups.

It's now coming up to two years since I was diagnosed and I am so lucky that all my check ups have been all clear allowing me to progress to yearly check ups.

Receiving a diagnosis has had a massive impact on my life both positive and negative. Firstly the shock, the unknown and the uncertainty are the worst parts. Not being able to concentrate on anything other than what lies ahead, whether that be hospital appointments or waiting for results - that's all you can think about. I also worried about the effect it had upon my loved ones. I didn't want my friends and family to be upset as that really upset me.

Believe it or not there are positives! I feel extremely lucky and grateful that it was caught early enough to be able to treat it surgically and with my fertility kept in tact. It wasn't a pleasant experience but I know that if I hadn't have gone for my cervical screening test when I did I may not be here today. I now know that I am strong enough to get through anything! I can put things into perspective a lot easier than before, as I now know what a real problem actually is! I try not to sweat the small stuff and I can step back and look at the bigger picture. I lead a much healthier and active lifestyle.

Another positive is the fact that my friends and family do not and would not ignore their cervical screening letter and make that appointment straight away, otherwise they'd have me to deal with! I am very proud that I can give advice and support about cervical cancer and abnormalities. And of course cervical screening, because I know without a doubt that mine saved my life.

See more stories.

We collected views on screening from professionals and the public:

Members of the public views on Cervical Screening

Health Care Professionals views on Cervical Screening

Tell us about your experience by emailing: screeningsaveslives@middlesbrough.gov.uk