| Last updated
A woman has shared her cervical cancer story to encourage other women to attend their smear tests if they are entitled to them, and know the symptoms if they aren't.
Heather Ryan first posted her experience on Facebook in 2016, and now she has reshared the story during cervical cancer awareness week to drum home the importance of listening to your body.
Women aged 25 and over are able to attend smear tests on the NHS, but if you are under that age always speak to your GP if you're concerned.
Writing on Facebook, Heather explained: "I want to share my story, to help others be more aware of the symptoms of cervical cancer. So that girls under 25 that are not entitled to a free smear know what to look out for and for those who are over 25 be more aware of the importance of going for your smear."
She continued: "I was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer at the age of 24. Because I was 24 I was not entitled to a free smear and the early cell changes in my cervix were not picked up.
"I started bleeding between my periods and bleeding after sex. I went to see my GP and was told to come back when I was 25 for a smear. I thought that's fine. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I had cancer.
"Three months later the bleeding got worse and I became anaemic. I returned to my GP and was referred to a gynecologist [sic].
"Biopsys were taken and I was then referred to an gynecology oncology specialist and then I was brought into the room! You know the room were people get bad news. With the box of tissues on the table [sic].
"I knew what was coming... I was told I had cervical cancer. I needed an MRI to see if the cancer had spread from my cervix. The results would decide what treatment I needed."
The results of the scan showed that the cancer was confined to Heather's cervix meaning surgery was able to remove it.
Heather continued: "Four weeks after being told I had cancer it was gone! I was lucky so so so lucky to have caught it on time. I AM CANCER FREE!
"That was the most dramatic emotionally painful experience of my life and no one should ever have to go through it. So with your help I want to share my story so that there is more awareness around cervix cancer."
Heather then encouraged women to always attend their smear tests, sharing the symptoms for those 25 and under so they know what they are looking out for.
She said: "I wish I had the opportunity to have caught the cell changes before it became cancerous. If you are under 25 and feel something is not right please go and get it check out with your GP."
Cervical cancer symptoms:
For help and support on cervical cancer, you can visit Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust here.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Heather Ryan
Chosen for YouChosen for You