Alexandra Hodson, 28, died in August 2020 two years after she was first diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common form of the disease in women under 34, with around 850 deaths a year in the UK.
Nicola Hodson, 37 and Alexandra’s eldest sister, has spoken out about her sibling’s experience.
She wants to encourage people to go for smear tests when invited after Alexandra’s death last year.
She said: “Don’t ignore the symptoms.
“And if you don’t ignore the symptoms and you go to your GP and see a nurse or a doctor, just push, push, push.”
Alexandra was treated at Clatterbridge Hospital before her death, with her family fundraising for immunotherapy.
Speaking to Lancashire Live, Nicola said Alexandra told doctors “time and time again” about her symptoms, but did not get the right treatment.
She told the outlet her sister “got told it could be normal because of the contraception she was on”.
Nicola added: “It turned out that all that time it was in there and growing.”
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In a call to action for women with symptoms of cervical cancer, Nicola then stressed people should “push to get a smear”.
She said: “If you don’t get the answer you’re happy with at the surgery, see a different nurse, see a different doctor.
“If you’ve got the symptoms of it, you must, must, must push to get a smear.
“It gets me really, really angry and sad because she knew she had it.
“When she got the leaflet through for her first screening, and she saw the list of things, she said she knew because she had every one of them.”
According to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, one in three young women who are invited to their first cervical screening do not take up their invitation.
They commissioned a survey from Censuswide between October 27 to November 3 2016, with 3,002 women between 25 to 29-years-old responding.
The survey found 26.7 percent of women feel “too embarrassed to attend cervical screening”, and 70 percent “don’t think cervical screenings reduce a woman’s risk of cervical cancer”.
It also found 51 percent of women surveyed “reported delaying or not attending screening”.
Nicola also admitted she put off her own smear test this summer, as she was nervous about her results around the anniversary of her sister’s death from the “cruel disease”.
She told Lancashire Live: “It’s the thought of, ‘Oh what if something comes back? What if I have to go for more tests?’.
“And I think because it was coinciding with the anniversary, it was just a bit much…
“At the end of the day, it could save your life. And for all of a minute. It’s really not a long thing to have done at all.
“And there really is no need to be embarrassed. I mean, they see plenty and do plenty daily.”