Woman Needs Radical Hysterectomy After Missing Her Smear Test
A mum who was "too busy" to get her smear test is sending a warning to all women after needing a radical hysterectomy.
Caroline Bradshaw put off getting her cervical screening for seven years despite getting repeated reminders, saying she had "too much on".
After watching a documentary on Jade Goody, the mum-of-two was finally compelled to take the test - and was heartbroken to find she had cervical cancer.
The result? Caroline had to undergo a radical hysterectomy, having her entire uterus removed.
The 34-year-old had been putting off getting the procedure since she was invited for an appointment in 2016 - something she puts down to being pregnant and moving house.
When her daughter Areya Bradshaw was born in 2017, Caroline's smear test completely slipped her mind, until she was invited back again three years later in April 2019.
Again, Caroline ignored her second invite for an appointment. She'd even noticed strange symptoms - including hair loss, blackened toe nails and what looked like scar tissue forming in her leg - but passed it off as bad circulation.
Things changed on evening in September when Caroline sat down to watch Channel 4's stirring documentary on reality star Jade Goody, who tragically lost her life to cervical cancer in 2009.
Caroline finally got her smear test in October, and two weeks later, while on holiday, received a text from her doctors confirming a follow-up appointment where she'd need to get a colposcopy and biopsies.
When her results came back negative, Caroline believed she was cancer-free and delayed booking a follow-up Lletz test (the next stage in tests) until January.
That's when Caroline's world crumbled.
"It must have been at least seven years ago that I last went for one," the mum from Stockport, Greater Manchester said.
"When the next letter came through from the doctor, I kept thinking I didn't need to go. I thought, I've got too much on, I'm too busy. I was too busy.
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"I was really busy with work and we were moving house at the same time as well. It's easy to just say no to. We were selling the house so I was constantly doing viewings.
"I was pregnant and had an excuse to not go for this one. I think because we'd then moved house I didn't register my new address with the GP so I wasn't getting new reminders either.
"It just got put to the back of my mind and I never even thought about it again.
"This time, when I did get a letter through, I again ignored it and thought I didn't need to go for that.
"It was watching the Jade Goody documentary that really hit home. What's a little test when it can save your life?
"I put it off again for another two weeks and then thought, no I need to get this booked. I eventually did get booked in.
"But I had been putting it off and off, and why on earth did I do it? I really don't know."
When her results came in January 2020, Caroline was told she had stage 1B2 cancer and would have to undergo a radical hysterectomy to remove the 40-80mm-wide squamous cell carcinoma found on her cervix.
"[When I found out] it was odd, I started shivering as if I was cold," said the stay-at-home mum.
"Someone else said the same thing happened to them and they think it was shock. I was shivering as if I was cold. That's all I was doing for ages.
"Even though I'd prepared myself the hour before, I still burst out crying [when they told me]. I cried a lot that night. After that evening, I was okay.
"My husband is a very matter-of-fact person and he was saying we could deal with it and get through anything."
Caroline now faces a gruelling wait to find out if she needs further treatment.
Caroline, who is married to husband Josh Bradshaw, 30, decided to post about her ordeal on Facebook in the hopes other women wouldn't put off getting their smears like she did.
Her post quickly went viral, amassing over 18,800 likes, shares and comments.
If Caroline's story can't convince you to book your smear, we're not sure what will.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News