Newlywed, 26, died of cervical cancer after doctor said she was ‘too young for a smear test’

April 24, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

A pretty newlywed died of cervical cancer after being refused a smear test because she was too YOUNG, her devastated husband claimed today.

Becky Ryder, 26, first visited her doctor aged 24 but her requests for the simple cancer test were turned down because she was under the recommended age of 25.

Instead she was diagnosed and treated for a completely different complaint.

Becky Ryder died from cervical cancer after a doctor allegedly refused to give her a smear test claiming she was too young

Becky Ryder died from cervical cancer after a doctor allegedly refused to give her a smear test claiming she was too young

It took 15 months of repeat visits to her GP before she eventually went to see another doctor who finally diagnosed the cancer.

But despite months of intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions and, receiving  the all-clear, the cancer eventually spread and Becky died on February 14 last year.

Her husband Paul Ryder, 35, described his wife’s attitude to the treatment as “pretty amazing”.

He said: “We still thought she could fight but even more chemotherapy couldn’t get rid of it.

“She was still trying to be positive and still thinking she was going to be ok.”

Becky, from Patchway, Bristol, first went to her doctor at the end of 2010 with unexplained bleeding.

But despite requesting a smear test she was refused because she was under 25.

Government legislation was changed in 2003 to mean regular smear tests are only given to women aged 25 and over.

Previously all women over 20 were given the tests and they still are in Wales.

Becky was eventually diagnosed with erosion of the cervix and was given treatment which briefly stopped the bleeding.

But when it returned she went back to see her doctor again.

“Becky wanted a smear test done and requested it but because she was under 25 at the time they said it would just get returned and they would not do it,” Paul said.

“She was treated for cervical erosion and then it was just left.

“The bleeding did stop. But it came back again and that is when they looked into it a bit further. She saw a different doctor then and they raised a few more concerns.”

Doctors confirmed Becky had cervical cancer following a biopsy in March 2011.

She was immediately given radiotherapy and chemotherapy and an internal brachytherapy treatment – a more targeted form of radiotherapy.

The couple also went through fertility treatment, where Becky’s eggs were frozen, so that they could still try for a family when treatment was over.

Becky was given the all-clear in September 2011 after scans showed there was no sign of the cancer.

“It was quite a shock, but a good shock,” said Paul, a golf professional and teacher.

“Becky didn’t seem to believe it she had a feeling something more was going.

“It was her body and she was sensitive to it. She was very relieved and happy but there was a little niggle.”

Only months later, in January, Becky’s legs started to swell up and, after returning to the doctors, scans showed that the cancer had returned.

Paul added: “That’s when they said ‘sorry, it’s terminal’.

“We still thought she could fight but even more chemotherapy couldn’t get rid of it.

“She was still trying to be positive and still thinking she was going to be ok.”

The couple, who would have been together for ten years in June, and were due to celebrate their third wedding anniversary this year, tried to remain positive.

But Becky was admitted to St Peter’s Hospice, in Brentry, Bristol, just before Christmas for blood transfusions.

She passed away on February 14.

When Paul went to return his wife’s mobile phone, which she had bought shortly before her death, he realised the issue was widespread.

He met someone in the shop who revealed her friend’s daughter had also recently died of cervical cancer.

“She had also tried to convince doctors to do something about it and had set up her own charity,” Paul said.

The Mercedes Curnow Foundation For the Early Detection of Cervical Cancer campaigns tirelessly for a reduction in the age of woman who are called for screening from 25 to 20.

They also fund private smear tests and HPV vaccines for women.

The Cornwall-based charity set up billboards in several cities around the country advising its campaign and the signs of cervical cancer.

“She wanted other people to know,” Mr Ryder said.

“It is vitally important that people know what to look out for and what to ask.”

Paul  is now taking up her campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer so that other young women do not die of the disease.

Becky’s colleagues at Mitie Group, a client services business in Emersons Green, Bristol, have been fundraising in her memory and have raised thousands of pounds.

“Any money would go straight to St Peter’s Hospice, The Mercedes Curnow Foundation and Penny Brohn. We are not interested in gaining,” said Mr Ryder.

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